Even if you are careful and wear appropriate protective gear, you never can eliminate your chances of suffering a life-altering injury at work. Indeed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 2 million Americans required emergency medical treatment for on-the-job injuries in 2020 alone.
New York’s workers’ compensation system provides a streamlined way for injured workers to pursue financial compensation for their injuries and other damages. Generally, if you have a workers’ compensation claim, you cannot file a personal injury suit against your employer. There are exceptions, though.
Does your employer have workers’ compensation insurance?
In the Empire State, virtually all employers have a legal obligation to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees who suffer injuries on the job. If your employer has decided not to buy this insurance, you can probably file a lawsuit. That is, your employer cannot skirt legal liability for your injuries simply by opting out of the workers’ compensation system.
Did your employer intentionally harm you?
The workers’ compensation system offers protections to both employers and employees for most of the injuries workers suffer at work. The system does not, however, allow employers to physically abuse their employers. If your employer intentionally harms you, such as by punching you in the face during a heated argument, you probably have a right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
It may be possible for you to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury suit for an injury you suffer at work. Ultimately, by exploring all your legal options, you increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve for whatever happens to you when you are on the job.