If you ever suffer a serious on-the-job construction injury, you may be left unable to work and facing long-term medical treatment. While workers' comp may be able to help cover some of your expenses, the truth is that many injured workers may be entitled to more than just workers' comp -- especially if their injury was caused by a third party.
In fact, even though many people think workers' compensation is the only legal option for injured workers, this really isn't true in many instances. For example, if a third party (i.e., someone other than your employer or a co-worker) is the person responsible for your workplace injury, you may be able to seek compensation through what is known as a third-party claim.
In the case of a construction accident, common third parties include sub-contractors, delivery drivers and manufacturers of defective construction equipment. For instance, if another contractor was to drop something from a great height, and you are hit while standing below, you may have a third-party claim.
You may also be able to seek damages outside of workers' comp if you are injured in a scaffolding accident. Indeed, New York's Scaffolding Law is often an effective tool for many injured construction workers.
However, it is important to point out that the information above barely scratches the surface of what you need to know about third-party claims in New York. To learn more, you should contact an experienced attorney right away.
You must be careful if you first seek workers' comp
While not every construction accident case will involve a third-party claim, if it does, you need to be careful not to jeopardize this claim if you decide to seek a workers' comp settlement first. For instance, if you choose to pursue a Section 32 lump-sum workers' comp settlement, you may be asked to give testimony that you are okay and ready to work. However, this can obviously affect any possible third-party claim.
This with why you should always consult with an experienced catastrophic personal injury attorney before talking to a workers' comp lawyer. You need to make sure these attorneys coordinate with each other to maximize your recovery. After all, you don't want to settle for less than you deserve under the law.