Hurt at Work and Worker’s Compensation

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Tuesday, Mar 26, 2024

The Workers’ Compensation Law applies when you were injured while you were at work. It is a New York State law.

Under the Workers’ Compensation Law, it does not matter if your employer does not have Workers’ Compensation insurance. If your employer does not have it, you then have the choice of suing your employer, or bringing a Workers’ Compensation claim, and you will then be paid from a pool, and the Workers’ Compensation fund will then seek to recover the money from the employer who did not have Workers’ Compensation insurance.

Under the Workers’ Compensation Law, it also does not matter if you are a citizen of the United States or an illegal immigrant. If you were hurt while you were working you still have rights to receive your Workers’ Compensation benefits and to also bring a lawsuit against a “third-party” to be compensated for your injuries in addition to your Workers’ Compensation benefits.

If you were working in what is known as, “off the books”, you can still receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers’ Compensation deals with persons getting hurt on the job. It doesn’t matter whether they are working on the books or off the books; you just have to prove that you were working when you were injured.

What is very important for you to be aware of is the fact that even if the accident may have been entirely your own fault that does not prevent you from receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits. You are entitled to those benefits even if the injury was your fault, so long as you were not drunk or on drugs at the time the injury occurred.

Workers’ compensation has what is called a “schedule loss of use award,” §15 of the Workers’ Compensation Law. You may deserve an award if one or more of your “body parts” do not fully heal to where they were before the injury. Permanent injury to a body part may include: fractures, amputations, surgeries, tears, dislocations, second or third-degree burns, crush injuries and severe nerve damage.

The Workers’ Compensation law states how many benefit weeks you will receive. It's based on the body part and how much it was injured. You'll get a certain number of weeks of payment to make up for the permanent injury.

In order to obtain a scheduled “loss of use” award, a doctor’s opinion is needed. Ask your doctor when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. If your injury is permanent, your doctor will state how much less you can use that body part. It will be put as a percentage: 25%, 50%, and so on. The doctor will file that opinion with the Board. With respect to the scheduled loss of use award, the Board can direct the Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier of your employer to pay one lump sum instead of spreading it out over a period of time.

If you are hurt on the job, in addition to your Workers’ Compensation benefits, if you believe your injury is the fault of a “third-party”, you also have a right to sue that party for your past and future pain and suffering, lost wages and loss of future earnings capacity as well as your medical expenses.

Workers’ Compensation provides benefits to workers who were injured on the job. The benefits under Workers’ Compensation include payments based on a percentage of the employee’s average weekly wage for a temporary, total or partial disability. Workers’ Compensation will also cover medical expenses for treatment and vocational rehabilitation services that are considered to be reasonable, necessary and related to the injury.

However, the benefits available under Workers’ Compensation are limited and do not reflect what you can obtain if the accident occurred due to the negligence of another party, that is someone other than your employer. This is known as a “third-party” lawsuit.

The difference between obtaining Workers’ Compensation benefits and filing a “third-party” lawsuit is that for Workers’ Compensation benefits, who was at fault is not an issue. If you were injured, and even if it was all your fault, you are still entitled to your Workers’ Compensation benefits.

However, to obtain compensation for your past and future pain and suffering, lost wages and loss of future earnings capacity as well as your medical expenses you must file a “third-party” lawsuit against an entity that can be claimed to have been negligent in causing your injury.

The law in New York is that you cannot sue your employer, or a co-employee, that caused your injury. However, you can sue others, they are then called “third parties”. For example, if you are a delivery person, who was making a delivery, and you fell over a dangerous condition such as a broken or defective step or handrail, a misplaced box, a broken driveway, etc., you can sue the “third party”, that is the homeowner or the business to whom you were making the delivery.

The law also protects construction workers who are employed in dangerous work. If you are hired for a job that is particularly dangerous and you are more susceptible to being injured, such as at a construction site, if you fell off a ladder or a scaffold, under a specific section of the New York State Labor, §240, if the ladder or scaffold was defective, or was not properly secured, you can sue not only the owner of the building but also the owner of the land. If you were working for a subcontractor, you may also sue the general contractor or other subcontractors. These other companies are all called “third parties”, as they are all not your employer.

If, as a construction worker, you are given a tool such as a drill, saw, grinder, or other piece of equipment, which is defective, the owner of the land is also responsible under §241(6) of the New York State Labor Law if you were injured while using the defective equipment.

For over 40 years, the lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have successfully represented many injured construction workers who have been hurt in various types of construction accidents. We have litigated construction related cases at all levels of the State and Federal Courts for injuries suffered by construction workers while engaged in construction work.

Before hiring any law firm to represent you when you have been injured in a construction site accident, it is important to look at their track record to see what they have accomplished in the past.

The firm of Jaroslawicz & Jaros obtained a $44 Million Verdict for a carpenter who was injured when he fell 25 feet off of a wall that was being built at a construction site. This case was the largest verdict in New York and was published and featured in the “Top New York Verdicts”.

See hundreds of our verdicts and settlements for over $1 million for our clients in our Past Results section, many of which were for workers who were hurt on the job and filed “Third Party” lawsuits.

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You can reach partner Abraham Jaros directly, either call his cell 917-842-9544, or email him at Or call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212 227 2780 in New York, or toll free 800-269-2780, or submit an online questionnaire.