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Every year, millions of American workers suddenly have their lives disrupted by an unexpected work accident. Even workers in occupations which aren’t typically considered dangerous are at risk of suffering a serious injury on the job.
Fortunately, virtually all New York employers are legally required to provide every employee with workers’ compensation coverage. There are some exceptions for public workers (e.g. police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers), but these departments have their own system for work injury compensation.
Is It Easy To Get Workers’ Comp?
Although every worker must be covered, many injured employees run into difficulties when attempting to claim their benefits. Employers and insurance companies regularly try to avoid making payouts, and the complicated workers’ comp system can be difficult to navigate without legal aid. Your employer or their insurance carrier may try to argue that your injury is not work-related, and they have skilled lawyers who specialize in denying claims.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a workplace accident and are unsure of your next move, our experienced New York work injury lawyers can help. We’re prepared to help you explore all of your options for financial compensation so that you can support your family while out of work with an injury. We know how this system works, and we know how to fight back against insurance companies who try to deny injured workers the benefits they deserve.
While work accidents occur in all types of environments, there are certain accidents which more frequently lead to serious injuries. However, it doesn’t matter how your injury occurred – even if the accident was your own fault, you’re still entitled to financial compensation if you can’t work. Some of the more common serious work accidents include:
Slips, Trips, & Falls
Slip, trip, and fall accidents are some of the most common workplace accidents. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, these accidents account for the majority of workers’ compensation claims in the US. A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere, as long as there is a hazardous condition present.
Common injuries which occur in slip and fall accidents include:
Back and spinal cord injuries
Cuts, abrasions, and lacerations
Muscle strains and sprains
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation or Social Security disability benefits. Additionally, you could have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit if someone other than a co-worker or your employer was responsible for the hazardous condition which caused your fall.
Fires in the workplace may not be terribly common, but they cause some of the most devastating injuries. Survivors are often left with permanent disfigurement and scarring and require long-term medical care. Other fire victims aren’t so lucky and don’t make it out of the blaze.
A fire can happen anywhere, so it’s extremely important to make sure that our workplaces are free of hazards and that proper fire safety precautions are followed. Examples of industries which have a higher risk of fires include construction, mining, manufacturing, and oil refining.
While most workplace accidents may be caused by human error or unavoidable hazards, a handful are caused by defective or malfunctioning machinery, equipment, and safety gear. If you were seriously injured in a work accident and believe defective machinery was at fault, you could potentially sue the equipment manufacturer under product liability.
Struck By Objects
Being struck by an object is one of the most common injuries among construction workers. These injuries include accidents involving falling tools, debris, and heavy machinery. Even a small object can cause serious or even fatal injuries if it’s dropped from a high enough elevation.
Employees with physically demanding job duties frequently suffer injuries due to overexertion. These injuries typically occur during physical labor tasks, such as lifting, carrying, and transporting heavy objects. Overexertion can occur suddenly due to improper lifting techniques, but some of these injuries also build up slowly over time. Workers in construction, manufacturing, warehouse distribution, and healthcare are some of the most common sufferers of overexertion.
Can I Sue Someone For Causing My Work Accident?
This depends on the circumstances of your employment and who was responsible for causing your accident. The Workers’ Compensation Act prohibits you from suing co-workers or employers for work injuries, even if your injury was their fault. However, you are permitted to seek compensation from a negligent third party who caused your injury.
If you’re classified as an independent contractor, you technically have no co-workers or employer, and would possibly be able to sue whoever caused your injury through negligence.
Personal injury lawsuits for work injuries are especially common in the construction industry. Construction sites are comprised of many different workers, including different construction companies, subcontractors, independent contractors, and others. If you were working on a construction site and got injured in an accident caused by someone with a different employer (or an independent contractor with no employer), or an accident caused by a project manager or property owner’s negligence, you could hold that party liable for damages.