Workers Compensation Lawyer
As a workers compensation lawyer injured workers recommend will share; in NY, nearly all employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Without this insurance, there can be severe repercussions for both the employee and employer. Injured workers will have no way to receive much-needed benefits other than by pursuing legal action against their employer. Employers without proper coverage may face severe consequences, including penalties and fines. Depending upon the number of employees the business has, employers are subject to criminal penalties. Employers with less than five employees face fines and misdemeanor charges, while employers with more than five employees face Class E felony charges and more costly fines.
As our team from Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP knows, there are several avenues an employer can take to secure workers’ compensation insurance, for example, the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF), self-insurance, or with a private insurance carrier. Workers’ compensation provides several advantages and is vital for those who have sustained injuries. In addition, it’s also important to note that it may be possible to secure additional compensation through the third-party claims process. However, when pursuing a third-party claim and taking advantage of workers’ compensation benefits, it’s necessary to speak with an experienced legal professional.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation is essential for several reasons. This form of insurance protects employers from legal claims that could financially impact their businesses and offers critical benefits to injured victims at work. It’s important to note that in exchange for these benefits, injured workers forgo the ability to take legal action against their employer. Key benefits of workers’ compensation include:
- Medical Expenses
- A Portion of Lost Wages
- Disability Benefits
- Vocational Rehabilitation
- Death Benefits
In most cases, pursuing legal action before first attempting to gain access to workers’ compensation benefits is only an option if a specific set of circumstances is present. Common reasons an injured worker may be able to take legal action include the following:
- Third-Party Claims
- Defective Products from Machinery
- Exposure to Toxic or Hazardous Materials
- The Employer Did Not Secure Insurance Coverage
- The Injured Worker was Intentionally Harmed
As mentioned, when a person is injured, the employer should have workers’ compensation insurance which allows victims access to benefits. However, various situations may warrant legal action, so injured workers should speak with a legal professional soon after the accident to understand their options.
Understanding a Third-Party Claim
In some cases, those who have been injured may have the ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits while also seeking legal action for damages faced at the hands of a third party who may have been involved. Damages from accidents can be extensive, and when a third party is negligent, they may be held responsible for at least some of the damages. Third-party claims take play outside of the workers’ compensation process and occur through the civil claims process. Pursuing this type of claim when available can be beneficial because it may offer victims larger compensation levels than workers’ compensation benefits can offer. Common examples of third-party claims include:
- Car Accidents
- Defective Products
- Exposure to Toxic Substances
- Outside Contractors
- Property Owners
To initiate a third-party claim, a lawyer will review the case details to determine whether negligence was a factor and the damages faced by the victim. Should it make sense to move forward, a lawyer will work closely with the victim to initiate a third-party claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. Typically the process is initiated with a demand letter. Once received by the insurance company, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to the case, review the details and determine whether they will offer a settlement.
Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP suggests that injured workers in need of help after an on-the-job accident should schedule a legal consultation with an experienced NY workers’ compensation lawyer.