Recently, New York crane operator Douglas Fitzmaurice was in the process of moving a 35-ton crane from one side of a sloped concrete spillway to another when the unthinkable happened: the crane toppled, pinning Fitzmaurice beneath it.
Rescuers rushed to the scene and struggled to free Fitzmaurice, who was reportedly conscious and talking. But, after holding on for almost four hours, Fitzmaurice succumbed to his injuries. He died shortly after 6 p.m.
Unfortunately, the crane accident that took Fitzmaurice’s life, and all manner of other construction mishaps, are all too common occurrences. But, there are resources available to help injured workers or their families through tough times. Although many are not aware of it, third party liability claims can often supplement workers’ compensation payments following a construction accident.
In New York, Workers’ Comp Is Exclusive Remedy against Employers, But Third Party Claims Viable
Workers’ compensation is a form of employer-provided insurance that supplies income and provides medical care for workers who suffer injury or illness as a result of their job. When a worker is killed on the job, his or her surviving spouse and dependants will receive weekly workers’ compensation cash benefits in the amount of two thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage.
Generally, fault of the employer or employee is irrelevant in a workers’ comp claim; as long as the injury is work-related, benefits should be provided. Under New York law, workers’ compensation is typically the sole remedy a worker has against his or her employer for on-the-job injuries; however, additional payments may be obtained in a lawsuit against a negligent third party.
A variety of situations can give rise to third party liability in a workplace accident: perhaps the property owner of your jobsite ignored hazardous conditions, an outside contractor or an improperly functioning piece of equipment caused your injury, a medical care provider caused further damage while attempting treatment or you were injured by another driver in a motor vehicle accident while traveling in a work-related capacity. Any time someone other than your employer or a coworker contributed to your workplace accident, you may be entitled to collect workers’ compensation in addition to pursuing a third party claim.
Get the Most Out Of A Third Party Claim
Unlike workers’ compensation claims, which are filed with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, a third party claim is a lawsuit filed in civil court. The compensation provided by a third party claim can include damages for pain and suffering as well as future lost wages; a successful third party claim almost always means more compensation for injured workers or their families.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, or if a loved one has been killed, do not delay. Contact an attorney today to discuss how workers’ compensation and/or a third party claim could help you secure the fullest recovery possible.