The New York State Workers’ Compensation Law bars injured workers from suing their employer or co-worker for suffering an injury on the job, except for a few rare exceptions. Thus, for the vast majority of work injuries Workers’ Compensation is your exclusive remedy. But for some people who suffer an injury at work, it is possible to have both a Workers’ Comp case and a Personal Injury lawsuit in Civil Court at the same time. This situation generally arises when a “third party” (i.e. someone other than your employer) is involved in causing your work injury.
A personal injury lawsuit has a major advantage over a claim for workers compensation: a personal injury award allows damages for the injured party’s “pain and suffering.” This is not the case in a New York State Workers’ Compensation case.
Injured workers can sue under a theory of negligence if someone other than the employer or a coworker is responsible for the harm. However, personal injury lawsuits against a third party are not always obvious to spot.