Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim Versus a Lawsuit

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 17-May-2013

In the state of New York, almost all employers are required by law to purchase workers' compensation insurance to cover their employees in the event of a workplace accident. This insurance must cover workers who are working at a for-profit or non-profit business, regardless of whether they are full-time employees, part-time employees, borrowed or leased employees, family members or volunteers. State employees, full-time domestic workers, certain farm workers, public school teachers (other than those employed by New York City itself), and county workers, even those involved in "hazardous" work, all must be covered as well. There are, of course, certain exceptions to the laws, but we advise you consult with a New York workers' compensation attorney at our firm if you have any questions about workers' compensation coverage.

As far as benefits are concerned, most workers' compensation policies generally cover basic medical care for the illness or injuries you sustained, replacement income for up to two-thirds of your average wage, any applicable retraining costs, compensation for any permanent injuries and survivor benefits in the unfortunate case of a fatal workplace accident. Compensation for pain and suffering is not covered by workers' compensation, so it is important to know that once you collect on workers' compensation benefits you are no longer eligible to sue your employer. Should negligence, neglect, recklessness, or intentional disregard for the safety of the employees on the part of your employer, or a third-party, be responsible or partially responsible for causing your accident, you may have the right to file a lawsuit and potentially waive your right to workers' compensation insurance benefits. By doing so, you could be able to recover damages to cover medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish and more. You should not move forward with a lawsuit, however, until you have been able to thoroughly review your legal options with your attorney, and determine how to best move forward legally in your case.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a workplace accident, contact a workers' compensation lawyer at Katz, Leidman, Grossman, Wolfe & Freund today and schedule a free, initial consultation.