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Workers’ Comp is not a complete bar …

November 14, 2011

A Workers’ Compensation claim is not necessarily a complete bar to commencing a personal injury lawsuit.  The particular facts could permit the injured worker to file a workers’ comp claim and to also commence suit.  This is true for any New York injured worker, although there usually is a bar against a lawsuit being commenced against the worker’s employer (there are some exceptions, and a common example is a NYC teacher being permitted to sue their employer for a work related injury).  So, when an attorney is reviewing a construction site injury, it is not enough to simply file a claim with the NY Workers’ Compensation Board. If the facts and circumstances are supportive, a NY construction worker involved in a work related accident may have additionally have a viable third party law suit.  A review of the applicable case law, statutes and regulations governing a client’s construction site accident is necessary.  It bears repeating, that this is in addition to the workers’ compensation claim.  The suit is usually against the general contractor and the site owner, pursuant to Sections 200, 240 and 241(6) of the New York Labor Law.  Section 200 codifies the common law obligation of reasonable care in maintaining the work site.  Labor Law Section 240 is known as the “Scaffold Law,” and makes both the property owner and the site contractor strictly liable for workers injured as a result of missing or inadequate safety equipment at elevated work sites.  Section 241(6) of the NYS Labor Law imposes a duty upon the general contractor and owner to comply with all provisions of the NYS Industrial Code.  Architects, subcontractors and manufacturers of equipment may also be held responsible for inadequate safety provisions.

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