Third-Party Liability

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Queens Third-Party Liability Claims Lawyer

Exploring Your Options After a Workplace Accident

In New York, most workers injured on the job have the right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits that provide them with access to medical care and wage supplementation. In some cases, however, workers may have viable civil claims against a third party that negligently caused them harm. These are known generally as third-party liability claims.

The Harris Firm, LLC is an award-winning practice with a reputation for helping injured workers and families across New York City following all types of work accidents, injuries, and illnesses.

As a firm devoted exclusively to injured workers, we have decades of experience helping clients pursue third-party liability claims, and a record of success that includes millions of dollars in recoveries. If you have a work accident case anywhere in New York City or the surrounding areas, our Queens third-party liability lawyers want to help.

Discuss your options for pursuing a civil lawsuit after a workplace accident in New York. Call (718) 487-8669 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

What Is a Third-Party Liability Claim?

A third-party liability claim arises when a worker is injured in the workplace, or while performing work-related duties, due to the actions or negligence of a party other than their employer.

The foundation of a third-party liability claim lies in tort law, which concerns wrongdoings that cause harm to an individual. When a third party's negligence or intentional act leads to an employee’s injury, New York law allows the worker to file a civil claim directly against the responsible party.

A successful third-party claim must establish the following:

  1. Duty of Care: The third party had a responsibility to avoid causing harm.
  2. Breach of Duty: The third party failed to exercise reasonable care (i.e. was negligent).
  3. Causation: The third party’s breach of duty directly caused the injury.
  4. Damages: The injury led to quantifiable damages such as medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Workers' Compensation vs. Third-Party Liability

Workers’ compensation and third-party liability claims are two separate and distinct claims. While they both function generally as an avenue of recourse for workers to recover losses caused by a work-related injury, they have many important differences. For example:

  1. No-Fault / Fault. Workers’ compensation is a form of no-fault insurance, which means that workers can obtain benefits regardless of who is at fault for their injuries (and even if they caused their own injuries). Conversely, third-party liability claims are legal actions brought in civil court that require victims to prove fault and liability.
  2. Recoverable Damages. Workers’ compensation provides important medical, wage supplementation, disability, and vocational benefits. However, these benefits are generally limited to only a percentage of a worker’s pre-injury wages. Civil third-party personal injury claims, on the other hand, allow victims to recover a broader scope of compensation than what’s available through workers’ comp, such as a recovery for all lost wages and damages for pain and suffering.
  3. Medical Care. Workers’ compensation insurers require injured workers to obtain treatment from authorized medical providers. If workers want to use their own providers or specialists and those providers are not expressly authorized, they must cover the expenses themselves. Workers who pursue third-party claims, however, can recover compensation for all relevant medical expenses, regardless of which provider they use.
  4. Process. As civil legal actions, third-party personal injury lawsuits are subject to the rules and procedures of civil court. While many claims can be resolved through negotiations prior to litigation, victims will still need to navigate a process that includes discovery (the exchange of information and evidence between both sides), answering interrogatories, claim construction, negotiations, and, when necessary, trial. Workers’ compensation claims, by contrast, are filed with and processed by an employer’s insurance carrier. In some cases, workers’ compensation appeals can proceed through both administrative and judicial channels.

In New York, workers’ compensation is typically the sole legal remedy for workers who suffer injuries or illnesses in the course of their employment. In most work accident cases, pursuing a workers’ compensation claim is the only option. However, there are instances where workers can pursue compensation outside of the workers’ compensation system – the most common being claims against a liable third party.

When these opportunities arise, it’s important for workers and their families to place their trust in proven lawyers. At the Harris Firm, LLC, we’ve represented countless clients in civil personal injury actions arising from workplace accidents, including claims involving serious injuries, premises liability, defective products, and wrongful death.

Situations That Give Rise to Third-Party Claims

There are many situations that can give rise to a third-party personal injury claim. Some examples include:

  • Defective Product Injuries. Workers injured by machinery, tools, equipment, or other products may be able to pursue third-party claims based on products liability. These actions may be brought against manufacturers, distributors, and retailers over defects in the design, manufacturing, or marketing of products, as well as for negligence in making the product available. For example, if a worker suffers a hand injury because a safety guard on a table saw failed to function as intended, they may have a case against the manufacturer.
  • Property Negligence. Many workers perform job duties on sites that are not owned by their employers. When they suffer injuries at these locations, they may have grounds to pursue liability against a property owner and/or property manager that failed to provide a property free from unreasonable hazards. These are known as premises liability actions, and they can involve a variety of circumstances, including slips or trips on hazards such as wet floors or poorly maintained carpeting, falls into open holes, insufficient lighting, and more.
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents. For transportation workers and others who are required to share the road with third parties, a motor vehicle accident is one of the leading causes of third-party claims. If another driver’s negligence – be it running a red light, driving at unsafe speeds, driving while intoxicated, or some other traffic violation – causes an accident that injures a worker, that worker may be able to file a personal injury claim against the driver.
  • Subcontractor or Vendor Actions. Many construction accidents and accidents involving skilled tradesmen occur on busy job sites where multiple companies work side by side. In these settings, subcontractors or vendors may act negligently in a way that harms another company's employee. For instance, if a subcontracted electrician leaves live wires exposed and a worker from another company is electrocuted, a third-party claim may be justified against the electrician or their employer.

Because there are many factors that affect your ability to pursue a third-party claim, the best way to evaluate your options is to have your case personally reviewed by an attorney. At The Harris Firm, LLC, we offer FREE consultations during which we discuss the facts of your case, options for securing compensation, and what we can do to help.

Identifying Liable Third Parties

Third parties in work accidents may include equipment manufacturers, property owners, subcontractors, or any other non-employer entities contributing to a hazardous work environment. The defining characteristic is that this party must not be directly involved in your employment.

Can I Still File for Workers’ Compensation?

Yes, injured workers with viable third-party claims still have the right to file for workers' compensation. Many workers choose to file workers’ compensation claims because they provide benefits more promptly and without the need to establish fault. They can also help cover costs while a third-party liability claim is pending.

Our team at the Harris Firm, LLC has helped many clients file both workers’ compensation claims and third-party personal injury actions following workplace accidents, and always takes the time to explain the implications of doing so. This includes the potential for subrogation, which occurs when employers and their workers’ compensation insurers seek reimbursement from the liable third party for the benefits they paid out to an employee, and various matters involving credits or liens.

Compensation Available in a Third-Party Claim

When viable, third-party liability claims serve as a meaningful source of compensation for workers and families. This includes compensation that is otherwise not available through an employer’s worker’s compensation insurance, such as pain and suffering and other non-economic losses.

While every case is unique, workers who file third-party claims are entitled to recover:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish / loss of quality of life
  • Lost emotional and financial support (suffered by family members)
  • Other economic and non-economic losses

Request a FREE Review of Your Case: (718) 487-8669

Recovering compensation after a workplace accident can be a difficult and daunting challenge, especially when there’s a viable civil injury claim that requires you to prove that a third party is liable for your losses.

At the Harris Firm, LLC, we leverage the insight of highly experienced and respected Queens third party liability lawyers to help clients position themselves for the maximum compensation possible – whether it’s through workers’ compensation, a civil personal injury claim, or both.

If you have questions about a case and how we can help you, contact us for a FREE consultation. We proudly serve clients across all five NYC boroughs.

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Our Clients Share Their Experiences With Us
  • Mr.Harris handled my case perfectly

    “I know that I can rely on him and his team. They have been very attentive.”

    - Saidou K.
  • I changed my attorney to Mr.Harris and it was the best decision I've made

    “This attorney established an increase on my WC benefit checks and he even helped me get retro paid checks that I was not receiving due to my other attorneys not handling my case the correct way.”

    - Genesis A.
  • Mr. Harris was very professional, and I’m very grateful what he has done for my case.

    “As far as communication, performance, and professionalism, he’s definitely a 10 across the board. I would definitely recommend his services!”

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    “I had a pleasure working with Harris firm. The team is filled with amazing people.”

    - Israel Y.

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