Deciding whether to file a workers’ comp claim or a lawsuit is a significant decision that can impact your ability to receive compensation for a work-related injury or illness. The right path depends on the specifics of your situation, including the type and severity of the injury and how it occurred.

Our New York workers’ compensation lawyer can help if you were hurt at work. Call (212) 741-3800 to schedule your free consultation.

should i file a workers comp claim

Understanding workers’ comp claims

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured during employment. In exchange for these benefits, employees typically forfeit their right to sue their employer for negligence. Here are some key points to consider.

Pros of filing a workers’ comp claim

  • Quick access to benefits – Workers’ comp is designed to provide quick financial assistance and cover medical expenses related to your work injury, helping you recover and return to work sooner.
  • Coverage for various injuries – Workers’ comp covers various injuries and illnesses, from acute injuries like broken bones to repetitive stress injuries and occupational diseases.
  • No need to prove fault – To receive benefits, you don’t need to prove your employer was at fault for your injury. If you were injured while performing work-related duties, you are generally covered.

Cons of filing a workers’ comp claim

  • Limits on compensation – Workers’ comp does not provide compensation for pain and suffering; the benefits you receive for lost wages are only a portion of your regular salary.
  • Waiving your right to sue – By accepting workers’ comp benefits, you generally waive the right to sue your employer for negligence.

When to consider a lawsuit

There are circumstances under which you might choose to file a lawsuit instead of, or in addition to, a workers’ comp claim. These include:

  • Third-party liability – If your injury was caused by a third party (someone other than your employer or a co-worker), such as a contractor, equipment manufacturer, or another driver in a work-related car accident, you might have the right to sue the third party.
  • Employer’s intentional act – If your employer intentionally caused your injury, some jurisdictions allow you to bypass workers’ comp and file a lawsuit for damages.
  • Lack of workers’ comp insurance – If your employer is required to carry workers’ comp insurance but fails to do so, you may be able to sue in civil court for injuries sustained.

Making the decision

  • Assess the nature of your injury – Consider how and why your injury occurred. If it falls squarely within the scope of your employment and there’s no third-party liability, a workers’ comp claim is likely your best route.
  • Consult a professional – Because there are exceptions to general workers’ comp rules in New York, consulting with an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation can provide clarity. An attorney can advise you on the best course of action based on the specifics of your case.

We’ll help you decide if you have a strong case

Filing a workers’ comp claim is appropriate for most work-related injuries, providing you with a streamlined way to receive benefits without proving fault. However, if special circumstances apply, such as third-party liability or intentional harm by your employer, pursuing a lawsuit might be a viable option. Consider consulting with a skilled attorney at The Weinstein Law Group to make an informed decision for your situation. Call (212) 741-3800 or contact us online now.