In typical lawyer fashion, the answer to this oft-asked question is yes and no. The law of the State of New York sets forth that an employee cannot sue his/her employer for an injury that occurred while working. Those types of cases are governed by the Workers’ Compensation Law. Such an injured person can file a workers’ compensation claim through his/her employer’s insurance carrier.
However, in situations where the injury was caused by someone or some entity other than his/her employer, the injured person can pursue a bodily injury claim (often called a personal injury or third-party claim) against the negligent party while simultaneously pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. Two simple examples will help clarify this issue.
John Doe, a pizza delivery man, fractures his arm when the broken pizza oven door falls on him. The law prevents him from suing his employer, but he can file a workers’ compensation claim through his boss’ insurance carrier.
On the other hand, if John Doe is driving to a customer’s house to deliver a pizza, and someone runs a red light and causes an accident that results in an injury, then he can pursue a bodily injury claim against the other driver’s insurance carrier to get compensated for his pain and suffering. At the same time, Mr. Doe will pursue a workers’ compensation claim to get the medical bills paid and to recover any lost wages.
If you get injured while working, call an attorney immediately to learn about your rights. You may be surprised to find out that you have a viable bodily injury claim.