Filing a Civil Lawsuit after a New York Construction Accident

If you were recently injured in a New York construction accident, you may be wondering what steps you should take to secure compensation. While most manual laborers are entitled to workers' compensation benefits under the law, it is important to understand that you may also be eligible to file a civil lawsuit. Typically, accepting workers' compensation benefits would prohibit you from taking legal action against your employer—as they would be the ones providing you with insurance—but there are certain exceptions to this rule. It is also true that you would always have the right to pursue damages from a third party (i.e. someone other than your employer) if they had negligently contributed to your injuries. This could include a manufacturer who had supplied defective machinery, for example.

Under any other circumstance, you would only be able to file a civil lawsuit if:

  • Your employer has not purchased workers' compensation insurance
  • Your employer has taken measures to intentionally harm you
  • Your employer has illegally prohibited you from seeking workers' comp
  • Your co-worker has taken measures to intentionally harm you
  • Your injury was caused by a violation of New York Labor Law 240 or 241
  • Your injury was caused by a negligent third party (not your employer)

Construction AccidentNew York Property Owners are Liable for Negligent Conduct

While most construction workers throughout the U.S. are strictly prohibited from suing their employer after an accident, even if they had negligently contributed to their worker's injuries, New York upholds labor laws that hold all contractors and property owners liable for their negligent conduct. These are known as New York Labor Laws 240 and 241. Under these laws, an injured construction worker would have the right to bring suit against a negligent contractor or property owner if they could prove that they were subjected to an unsafe work environment. Since it is not the workers' responsibility to ensure that their work environment is reasonably safe, they must only need to show that the accident could have been prevented if the liable party had adhered to mandatory safety regulations.

Discuss Your Case with a New York City Construction Accident Lawyer

Even if the worker had contributed to their own injuries, these statutes impose strict liability. This means that the worker's award cannot be reduced by their own level of culpability—apart from an instance in which it has been determined that they are solely responsible. That being said, you should not hesitate to discuss your options with a New York construction accident attorney from Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP as soon as possible. While workers' compensation benefits will provide you with the bare necessities—including reimbursement for your medical treatment and a percentage of your lost earnings—you would be able to maximize your financial recovery if you could pursue a civil case.

Call our office today to find out if you are eligible.