Given the vast number of different jobs and workplace environments, it is not surprising that the umbrella category of “workplace accidents” can include almost any type of imaginable injury. A zoo keeper faces different workplace risks than a construction worker; a construction worker faces different risks than a teacher; a teacher faces different risks than a scuba instructor; and so on. And while some professions/professional environments are undeniably more dangerous than others, almost every working employee in New York State has at least one thing in common: if they are injured while on the job, they are rightfully entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. However, even where worker’s compensation is an option, you should still strongly consider consulting an attorney to help you evaluate your options.
DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS
If you suffered a “work-related” injury, you have two (2) years from the date of accident/injury to file a worker’s compensation injury claim. In a perfect world, the process would be fair and uncomplicated. Unfortunately, unscrupulous employers may try to shirk responsibility by undermining your claim, or the insurance carrier may try to lowball you. In addition, worker’s compensation will only cover medical bills and lost earnings. Any pain and suffering you experienced due to your injury will not be covered.
The general rule regarding worker’s compensation is that it precludes personal injury litigation against your direct employer for workplace injuries. Very often, worker’s compensation insurance simply does not adequately compensate you for your injuries. You still have options. For example, you can potentially pursue a lawsuit where:
- Your employer doesn’t have any worker’s compensation insurance;
- A toxic substance caused the injury;
- A defective product caused the injury;
- A third-party is liable for the injury; and/or
- The injury occurred on a construction site.
However, if you receive worker’s compensation and a personal injury money judgment, the carrier who paid the worker’s compensation will likely have a lien on your recovery, meaning you may have to reimburse them for some or all the worker’s compensation benefits you received.
LET US WORK FOR YOU
Regardless of the particular circumstances surrounding your injury, it is prudent to seek advice and counsel from a qualified attorney. The statute of limitations for negligence claims is three (3) years from the date of the incident. Therefore, time is of the essence. The attorneys at Campbell & Associates have years of experience helping injured workers recover the true costs of their personal injuries. So, whether you are a construction worker, a factory worker, or in some other type of career, we invite you to call us at (716) 992-2222 for a free consultation.
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Example Verdicts and Settlements
Koheler v. Port Authority of NY & NJ, et al. (N.Y. Sup. 2015) – Plaintiff, a 39-year old laborer, was working at the 1 World Trade Center construction site when unsecured wooden planks he was walking on shifted, causing him to fall some four feet. He sustained a torn right ACL that required reconstruction surgery and revision of a prior arthroscopic repair of the medial meniscus. He also sustained lumbar herniations that eventually required a spinal fusion surgery. Plaintiff received approximately $195,000 in worker’s compensation, but maintained that he was permanently unemployable following the accident. He sued Defendant owners of the construction site. The parties ultimately settled for $1,625,000.
Olkowski v. City of New York (N.Y. Sup. 1990) – A 30-year old sanitation worker sustained a herniated disc when physicians at his employer’s clinic hastily cleared him for full physical duty following a work-related back sprain. A jury awarded him $3,200,000 ($5,593,000, adjusted for inflation).
Tuitt v. Otis Elevator Co. (N.Y. Sup. 1990) – Plaintiff, a 34-year old nurse’s aide, was wheeling a cardiac-emergency patient into an elevator when it malfunctioned and “misleveled” about 4 inches above the elevator frame. Plaintiff attempted to lift the wheeled-bed and the patient so she could load them into the elevator. As a result, Plaintiff sustained a bulging lumbar disc with associated radicular symptoms. She sued Defendant elevator servicing company, alleging that their negligent and insufficient maintenance of the elevator led to the malfunction that ultimately caused her injuries. Plaintiff contended that she was unable to continue as a nurse’s aide and was restricted to part-time work as a receptionist. A jury awarded Plaintiff $1,337,890 (about $2.5 million, adjusted) for her injuries.