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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

Workers’ Compensation Versus a Lawsuit for Construction Accident Injuries

Construction accidents are often serious and fatal given that there are many hazards on construction sites. Yet most construction accidents and injuries in New York can be avoided with proper safety precautions. When an accident and injury does happen on a construction site due to another party’s negligence, it can be difficult for construction workers and their families to know where to turn. A quick internet search might reveal that injured workers typically are not eligible to obtain compensation through a lawsuit, and thus an injured construction worker might assume that the workers’ compensation system is the only option for obtaining coverage for medical bills and lost wages. However, it is essential to know that workplace accidents on construction sites in New York present a different situation.

To be sure, you do not need to determine whether you are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim or a lawsuit after a construction accident injury. Rather, in many scenarios, the injured construction worker can seek compensation through both routes under New York workers’ compensation law and New York Labor Law.

Workers’ Compensation is Typically an Exclusive Remedy

There is a common misconception that all workplace injuries in New York are typically compensable only through the workers’ compensation system. In other words, injured workers and their families learn that workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, which means the injured worker cannot file a lawsuit against an employer for negligence—even if the employer’s negligence was the proximate cause of the worker’s injury. In most workplace injury cases, workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy. Accordingly, injured workers need to seek compensation for health care bills and lost wages through the New York workers’ compensation system.

Yet injuries on construction sites are different from workplace injuries in other locations and in other industries. While workers’ compensation is typically an exclusive remedy for most workplace injuries, it is not an exclusive remedy for construction work injuries.

Work Injuries in the Construction Industry Are Different

In addition to seeking compensation through the New York workers’ compensation system, injured construction workers can also sue for negligence under New York Labor Law. The following are relevant sections of the law:

● Section 200: This is the general negligence portion of New York Labor Law, which allows an injured construction worker to sue an employer for negligence that results in a construction site injury. To be sure, worksites must provide reasonable and adequate protection for construction workers.

● Section 240: This Section of New York Labor Law is often known as the “Scaffolding Law” because it allows construction workers who have been injured in falls from heights or related injuries due to negligent scaffolding safety to file a lawsuit.

● Section 241: This Section of New York Labor Law is specifically intended for construction workers who are injured as a result of negligence in sites involving demolition and excavation negligence, as well as safety equipment negligence.

Seek Advice from a New York Construction Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a construction accident in New York, it is critical to seek advice from an experienced New York construction accident lawyer as soon as you can. Our injury attorneys can speak with you about your options for filing a lawsuit against a negligent construction employer or site owner under New York Labor Law. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLCtoday to learn more.


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