A New York Construction Accident Lawyer Who Represents Injured Workers Tracking Developments in Construction Accident Law.

An worker injured in a construction accident cannot sue his or her employer because of what is referred to as the workers’ compensation bar. This is well-known to personal injury attorneys.

But there are circumstances where, even though a worker collects workers’ compensation through a company that is not necessarily his employer–such as an independent worker hired by a contractor at a job site–he can still sue that company for money damages.

In short, the way the system generally works is that you collect workers’ comp through your employer and hope that there is another liable party that you can sue for damages. Workers’ comp only pays about $400 per week–much less than most construction workers earn–and is often prematurely cut off.

But some workers are self-employed and when they are injured in a construction site accident, end up for various reasons collecting workers’ compensation from another entity on the job.

But this does not foreclose a lawsuit against that entity.

Here is the detailed analysis: if a worker receives compensation through a company, and the workers’ compensation board does not specifically adjudicate that it is his or her employer, the worker can still file suit against the company, since there is no conclusive proof that he was employed by that company. (See Weitz v. Anzek Construction Corp., 65 A.D.3d 678 (2d Dep’t 2009).

On the other hand,  if the board determines that a certain company is the employer, it is immune from liability pursuant to the workers’ compensation laws. (See Cortes v. McGuiness Condos, LLC, 2009 NY Slip Op 52021U (Kings Cty Sept. 30, 2009).

That is to say, just because a worker starts receiving workers’ compensation with a certain company named as the employer, it does not necessarily mean he cannot sue that employer. There are still steps that a good attorney can take to preserve his or her client’s rights in such a situation.

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