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Queens Workplace Accident Attorney

What is a Workplace Accident?

A workplace accident injury is an injury that occurs during the course of one's employment or during work hours. Usually, a work injury or workplace injury is caused by a task that the person is required to do at their job. The term also applies to injuries occurring during work hours or while on the employment premises.

Most work injury claims are resolved through a worker's compensation claim. The employment contract terms will often guide this resolution process between the worker and the employer. State and federal laws also govern health and safety standards in work environments to help reduce work-related injuries.

The general rule is that the only compensation an injured employee can recover after a workplace accident is through their employer's workers' compensation insurance. There are exceptions to this rule, however. These exceptions include situations where an employer failed to obtain workers' compensation insurance, intentional injuries by an employer or third party, injuries that arise from a defective product or toxic substance, or construction site accidents caused by an entity other than your employer.

Although workers who are injured on the job are entitled to Workers' Compensation benefits, obtaining such benefits can be a challenge. At times, an insurer will deny a claim, contending that the injury did not occur within the course and scope of the individual's employment. Similarly, an employer may contest a claim, often in an attempt to keep insurance premiums from rising. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, a skilled attorney can help you obtain the benefits you deserve.

For over 25 years, Prime Law Firm has been fighting for the rights of injured workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. Well-versed in the workers' compensation rules, we can help you navigate the application process and make sure you receive your rightful benefits. If your claim has been denied, our legal team can pursue an appeal on your behalf. Above all, we will work tirelessly to protect your interests.

Will Workers' Compensation Cover Me for Any Workplace Accident?

Workers' compensation will cover you for any work-related injuries or accidents. Sometimes even if the employee caused the accident, they might get workers' compensation for their

injuries or illnesses as long as the employee did not cause the accident under the influence of illegal drugs and alcohol.

There is a difference between a personal injury lawsuit and a workers' compensation claim. Some people think that a workers' compensation claim is the same as a personal injury claim, but this is not the case.

Are There Workplace Accidents Not Covered By Workers' Compensation?

Workers who are injured by someone other than an employer or coworker may be able to sue that person or entity. When a worker is injured by defective equipment, they may be able to sue the manufacturer of the machine. Manufacturers can be held strictly liable. Manufacturers can also be held liable for negligence and failure to warn of dangerous circumstances.

A worker who is injured by a toxic substance in the workplace, such as asbestos or benzene, may be able to bring a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of the toxic substance or safety equipment that failed to protect against the substance. Toxic tort lawsuits can be brought to recover for injuries like chemical burns, as well as long-term injuries such as cancer and mesothelioma.

A Primer on Workers' Compensation in New York

Almost all employers in the state are required to obtain Workers Compensation Insurance, which provides financial and medical benefits to workers who sustain an injury or illness as a direct result of their job. This is basically a no fault system — neither the employer or the employee is considered to be at fault — which protects both parties. Employers are protected from civil lawsuits while injured workers are provided with vital benefits, including:

  • Lost Wages — Coverage equal to two-thirds of the injured workers' average weekly wages, based on all earnings, including base pay, overtime, bonuses, and second jobs.
  • Medical Benefits — All reasonable and necessary medical care is covered at no cost to the injured worker, including doctors' visits, diagnostic testing, emergency room visits, hospital care, prescription medications, assistive devices (e.g. crutches, braces, wheelchairs) physical therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Permanent Disability Benefits — Available to individuals who will never be able to perform any type of work as a result of a workplace injury or illness. Such benefits are based on a percentage of the workers' wages at the time of the injury, payable on a monthly basis. A permanent partial disability, on the other hand, is a physical impairment that permanently affects one or more parts of the body, but does not prevent a worker from performing some type of work. Partial disability benefits are awarded in either a lump sum payment or paid over time.
  • Death benefits — Surviving family members of a worker killed on the job, or who subsequently dies from complications of an injury or illness, are also entitled to death benefits, based on a percentage of the deceased workers' average weekly wage, subject to a maximum weekly benefit that is reset annually.

Common Queens Workplace Accidents and Injuries

Workers can be injured in all types of accidents, such as:

  • Slips and falls — Typically caused by wet or damaged floors, torn or uneven carpeting, poorly lit areas, or clutter and debris in walkways.
  • Manual Labor — Bending and lifting, carrying and moving heavy items, can lead to all types of injuries.
  • Vehicles and Moving Equipment — Vehicles and equipment — forklifts, cranes, machiners, can hit workers or rollover, trapping a worker beneath.
  • Workplace Hazards — Exposed wiring, fires, burns and explosions can result in serious injuries and death.

What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Workplace Accidents?

The best way for employers and employees to avoid workplace accidents is through a strategic safety plan. When proactive measures are in place, employees and employers can create a culture of safety. Your employer should use the following tips to bolster safety efforts at work:

  • Promote safety awareness with regular safety briefings and employee safety training
  • Install proper lighting to create a well-lit and visible job site that makes it easy for staff to see potential risks and avoid them
  • Communicate safety hazards with signs that clearly identify hazardous areas and potential risks like obstacles, spills, toxic materials, or other hazards
  • Contain spills quickly when they happen. Always have cleanup equipment readily accessible in the workplace
  • Routinely check for safety hazards like spills or obstacles
  • Install proper ventilation to prevent toxic chemicals or other foreign particles from being inhaled by employees
  • Enforce proper attire for accident prevention, like hard hats or slip-resistant shoes

What to Do After a Workplace Injury

After a workplace injury, immediately seek medical treatment and inform the treating physician that your injury or illness was job-related. You must also inform your supervisor in writing of the injury within 30 days of the accident. If you fail to notify your employer in a timely fashion, you may forfeit your right to obtain benefits. In addition, keep notes of your injury as well as records of any treatment you receive.

Third Party Claims in Workplace Accidents

Although Workers' Compensation prevents workers from pursuing personal injury lawsuits against their employers, a lawsuit can be filed against a third party who causes an injury.

Examples of workplaces in which third party claims include:

  • Construction Sites — Although construction sites are inherently dangerous, New York Labor Law requires site owners, general contractors and anyone employed or subcontracted by a general contractor are required to provide workers with a safe environment. Third party claims can be brought against multiple parties, including owners, general contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects, machinery equipment manufacturers, and their insurers.
  • Factories — Accidents often occur because of dangerous or defective equipment or machinery, in which case a product liability lawsuit can be brought against a manufacturer or distributor.
  • Transportation-Related Work — Truck drivers can hold other drivers responsible for accidents that result in injuries. In addition, manufacturers and distributors of faulty truck and truck parts can be held liable when such defects cause or contribute to an accident.

If you have been injured at work because of the negligence of a third party, our experienced attorneys can determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit and will work to help you recover damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering and other types of compensation.

New York Workplace Accident Attorneys

Work accidents can involve a wide range of injuries and legal issues. If you are filing a personal injury claim for a workplace injury, contact a local workers compensation lawyer in your area. Your attorney can help review your work-related injury case and can help you when it comes to filing a claim or a lawsuit. In the event of a legal dispute, your attorney can directly represent you during legal hearings and meetings.