Even if You Lost Your Workers’ Compensation Case, You May Still Be Able to Sue for Your New York Construction Injuries

Whenever you are injured at your construction job, you probably have many worries. Your injury may have left you unable to work, whether temporarily or permanently, which means you may have great concerns about how you are going to pay your bills and meet your other financial obligations now that you’re not working. Under the law, you may have lots of different options available to you when it comes to obtaining much-needed compensation. These options may include filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and also filing a lawsuit in civil court. When it comes to assessing your options, be sure you seek out the advice of an experienced New York City construction injury attorney to help you choose the best path forward.

It also worth noting that, just because you pursue one option and your case is unsuccessful, that doesn’t mean that all options are closed to you. Look at this case involving a New York City worker. S.S. was a construction worker who was working in Queens County when he was injured. S.S.’s injury was allegedly the result of something called an “elevation-related” risk, meaning that it involved either him falling or something falling on him.

S.S. filed a claim for workers’ compensation. S.S. also filed a civil lawsuit seeking damages under Sections 240(1) and 241(6) of the Labor Law, which are two laws that permit construction workers hurt on the job to recover compensation in civil court.

The worker did not succeed in his workers’ compensation case. The board that decided his case concluded that S.S. had not suffered “a permanent restriction or loss of use as a result of this injury.”

The defense tried to use that unsuccessful workers’ compensation outcome as a weapon to take out the worker’s construction injury lawsuit. The defense argued that the worker’s unsuccessful workers’ compensation outcome, along with a legal doctrine called “collateral and/or judicial estoppel,” combined to mean that S.S. could not possibly be permitted under the law to pursue his personal injury lawsuit.

Estoppel is a legal concept that states that if you lose your case before an administrative agency, then you cannot pursue a civil lawsuit based on the exact same thing. In order for that defense argument to be successful, though, the two claims must be identical. That was a problem for the defense in this case and one that allowed the court to permit S.S.’s civil lawsuit to go forward. The issue of whether or not S.S. suffered permanent restriction or loss of use, which decided his workers’ compensation case, was not an essential issue in deciding whether or not S.S. was entitled to civil damages under the Labor Law. The board that resolved S.S.’s workers’ compensation case did not consider, and made no conclusions, about the civil defendants’ alleged negligence and/or violations of the law. Furthermore, the issues in the worker’s civil court case were broader than those assessed in the workers’ compensation case. All of these things showed that the two actions were not identical, which worked against the defense and allowed S.S. to go forward with his claim for damages.

If you’re hurt at your construction job in New York, you need skillful legal representation to get you the compensation you should receive, and to avoid the pitfalls that could destroy your case. Contact the experienced New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates. Our team has many years of providing effective advice and advocacy to injured workers.

Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.

More Blog Posts:

What New York State Safety Regulations Can I Use as the Basis for Pursuing a Construction Injury Lawsuit?, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 1 de Octubre de 2018

Proof of a Lack of Fall Protection Allows an Injured Demolition Man to Win His New York Construction Injury Case, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 9 de Julio de 2018

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