Almost one million American employees get injured at the workplace.
The average worker spends most of their day working alongside their co-workers. So, no matter how well you get along with these people and no matter how good you do the job, accidents happen.
Sometimes the workplace injury can be caused by a negligent worker (in fact it’s one of the most common ways for injuries at the workplace).
If you were injured by a co-worker at the workplace, seek help from a New York workers’ compensation attorney.
Here is what you need to know.
Start with a Workers’ Compensation Claim
When you get injured at work, you have the right to seek workers’ compensation claims, no matter if you got injured in an accident or because of a co-worker’s mistake. Negligence isn’t a factor in worker’s compensation, all it matters is that a worker got injured.
These benefits will pay for your medical bills, other injury-related expenses, and about two-thirds of your lost wages.
However, workers’ compensation won’t pay for pain and suffering.
You can be eligible for compensation if you were injured after hours, so long as you follow the instructions of your supervisor.
You might not be eligible for workers’ compensation in case you were:
- Traveling back and forth from home
- On a lunch break
- Involved in criminal activity
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
In some states, the compensation coverage will be denied if you were injured while you were “horsing around” with another worker (unless this behavior is common in your workplace and the supervisor hasn’t corrected this behavior).
Suing the Negligent Employee
Workplace injuries require a long recovering (sometimes even months). In some cases, people end with permanent disabilities. The workers’ compensation will only cover your medical bills and part of your lost wages. When your injuries occur because of a negligent co-worker, you can file a third-party lawsuit to get full compensation for your injuries.
Your lawsuit (unlike workers’ compensation) can seek to collect all damages including:
- Medical costs
- Replacement services
- Past and future lost wages
- Consortium claims from your family
- Pain and suffering
When filing a third-party lawsuit you will have to prove that your coworker did something wrong or didn’t do what they were supposed to do, which led to your injury. You should show that your co-workers’ mistake was a direct reason for your injuries.
To put it simply, you will have to prove that if it wasn’t for your co-worker’s negligence, you wouldn’t have been hurt.
Even if you win the lawsuit, the liable worker might not have enough money to cover your damages.
When You Can Sue Your Employer
Another option is to sue your employer. You can file a lawsuit against your employer (you can do this if you ended up with a severe injury like head trauma, fractures, burns, amputations).
No matter how mad and upset you are with your co-worker or your employer, you won’t be able to sue them personally if you ended up with minor injuries like bruises, abrasions, minor burns, or pulled muscles.
To sue your employer successfully when a co-worker injured you, you’ll have to show that the employer knew that the co-worker was dangerous to others and the employer failed to protect you (and other employees).
Employer’s Duty of Care
Employers who become aware of a worker’s job-related errors have no legal duty to intervene, relocate, discipline, or terminate that worker.
The employer’s legal duty is to take action changes once they find out an employee’s negligence puts in danger the health and safety of other employees.
Workers’ Compensation Reimbursement
Lawsuits can last for months or years, before the final settlement (sometimes it can go to trial). Meanwhile, the workers’ compensation will cover medical bills and lost wages.
When an injured employee gets an award from the lawsuit for the same injuries, the workers’ compensation is entitled to reimbursement of those payments.
Court awards and lawsuit claims are far higher than a worker’s compensation payments.
Getting the Most Compensation for Your Injuries
Although workers’ compensation is something that most workers get without any problems even if they don’t hire an attorney, if you decide to sue the co-worker or your employer, you should get help from a workers’ compensation attorney.
Your lawyer will help you write the lawsuit, and will represent your case until the very end. Proving fault (negligence of the co-worker and employer) can be a challenge. Get your legal help from Cellino Law attorneys.