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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions—New York Workers’ Compensation

Is Workers’ Compensation Your Exclusive Remedy?

When you’ve been hurt on the job in New York, you have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits to cover lost wages and income, as well as any medical expenses incurred. Is that your only legal recourse? Let’s look at some of the other types of benefits or compensation and determine if they affect your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

Q: Can I choose to file a lawsuit instead of a workers’ compensation claim?

A: Technically, it’s not a matter of whether you can file one type of legal action or the other. Under New York’s laws (as in all other states), the workers’ compensation laws are in place to provide compensation for any injuries caused by your employer or a co-worker. If your injuries were caused, in whole or in part,  by any actions of a fellow employee, your boss, the company owner or any other company official, you have a right to seek benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. If, on the other hand, your injuries were caused by an “unrelated third party,” such as the manufacturer of a defective tool or machine, or the driver of another car (a driver who does not work for your employer), you can file a lawsuit in civil court.

Q: Can I file a civil suit and a workers’ compensation claim for the same injury?    

A: Yes, provided you can show that your employer had some responsibility for your injury and that an unrelated third party also caused the accident in some way. Don’t expect to collect more than once for a specific loss, though. For example, if your medical expenses were reimbursed by workers’ compensation, you cannot recover those same losses in a personal injury lawsuit in court.

Q: Why would I choose to file a workers’ compensation claim instead of a civil lawsuit?

A: For injured parties, there are advantages and disadvantages to filing a workers’ compensation claim instead of a personal injury lawsuit. With a workers’ compensation claim, you won’t have to get on the court’s docket and won’t be subject to a protracted discovery schedule. If your claim is approved, you can typically start receiving benefits within a few weeks. With a civil suit, it can be months or years before a final resolution. A disadvantage of a workers’ compensation claim, though—the maximum amount you can receive will be limited by your income over the past 52 weeks.

Q: Can I receive unemployment compensation and workers’ compensation benefits at the same time?

A: Yes. New York law allows individuals to receive these types of payments simultaneously. To qualify for unemployment compensation, you must be able and willing to work. Furthermore, if you are currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits, it may reduce the amount of unemployment to which you are entitled.

Experienced Queens, New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

At the law office of Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani, we offer more than five decades of combined experience to people throughout Queens and across the New York City metropolitan area who have suffered a workplace injury or illness. We emphasize personal service and attention, learning the details of your injury, as well as your goals, so that we can tailor our counsel to get the results you want. Many of our new cases come as referrals from doctors, lawyers and satisfied clients.

We offer comprehensive counsel to men and women who have suffered any type of work injury:

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) | Scarring or Disfigurement | Back and Neck Injury | Spinal Cord Injury | Burns | Fractures | Paralysis Permanent | Shoulder, Arm, Hand and Finger Injury | Hip, Leg, Foot and Toe Injury | Amputation or Loss of Limb | Accidental or Wrongful Death | Hearing or Vision Loss | Occupational Disease or Illness

To learn more about the services we offer, see our practice area overview page or call our offices at 718-804-5430.

Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys—Queens, New York