Who Can Be Sued For An On-The-Job Injury?

Every year, almost three million job-related injuries and illnesses are reported in the United States. As you might guess, construction is the most dangerous line of work, but even in a sedate office setting, you could sustain an unexpected, accidental, catastrophic injury.

If you are injured at work or if you become ill because of conditions at your place of work – seek medical treatment immediately, and then speak at once with an experienced Rochester workplace injury attorney.

How do work-related injuries differ from other personal injuries? If you are injured at your job, you are probably eligible for workers’ compensation payments. To receive workers’ comp benefits, injury victims do not have to take legal action or prove that an employer was negligent.

IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION REALLY ENOUGH?

What does workers’ compensation provide to injured workers in New York? Is it sufficient? Do workplace injury victims have another option – that is, another potential source of compensation? In some cases, the answer to that last question will be yes, so keep reading.

Workers’ comp shields employers from personal injury lawsuits filed by employees, who automatically receive payments if they are injured on the job and can’t work. No one gets rich. Workers’ compensation benefits are barely enough to help injury victims meet basic obligations.

arm cast from work injury

With very narrow exceptions, New York compels employers to have workers’ compensation coverage for both full-time employees and part-time employees.

WHAT DOES WORKERS’ COMP PROVIDE? WHO QUALIFIES?

If you’re injured at work in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall incident, for example, or if you are made ill by exposure to a toxic substance at work, your workers’ comp coverage should pay for your medical costs. Workers’ comp also replaces a percentage of the employee’s lost wages.

That wage replacement amount isn’t much. It replaces two-thirds of your average weekly pay (for the preceding year) if you are temporarily one hundred percent disabled, but if you are less than one hundred percent disabled, the benefits may be considerably reduced.

For example, if you earn $1000 weekly and you are temporarily one hundred percent disabled, your workers’ comp benefit is $667 a week, but if you are considered only fifty percent disabled, even if you can’t work, you will receive only $333 a week.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT WORKPLACE INJURIES?

To make things harder, in some instances, employers and insurance companies may challenge an injured employee’s claim for benefits by saying that the employee wasn’t really badly injured or that the employee was injured in some other place and time – but not at work.

severe work injury

Workplace accidents have this in common with other accidents; sometimes they’re catastrophic. Severe spinal cord damage or a traumatic brain injury may require costly, life-long medical care. These injury victims – and their families – will need more than workers’ comp benefits.

IS THERE ANOTHER OPTION FOR WORKPLACE INJURY VICTIMS?

If a third party had any role in causing your work-related injury, you may be able to obtain additional compensation through a third-party personal injury claim with the help of a reliable and skilled injury lawyer.

Your attorney will explain what the legal process entails and will suggest the most constructive way to move forward – which may be a third-party personal injury lawsuit.

How can a third party be liable for a work-related injury? Let’s say that you’re a delivery person who is injured by a negligent driver while you’re making deliveries. You’ll qualify for workers’ comp, but you may also pursue a personal injury action against the driver who injured you.

WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS IF YOU’RE INJURED ON THE JOB?

Employees who are injured on the job in New York also may be able to bring legal actions in these kinds of circumstances:

  • Employees injured by defective products may file a product liability claim against the product’s manufacturer.
  • Employees injured by toxic substances may have grounds for a toxic tort claim against the substance’s manufacturer.
  • Employees injured as the result of their employer’s intentionally malicious or exceedingly egregious behavior may – in very narrow circumstances – be able to bring a personal injury claim against the employer.
  • When an employer has failed to purchase and maintain workers’ comp insurance coverage as New York law requires, an injured employee may proceed with legal action against the employer.

WHY IS A GOOD ATTORNEY’S ADVICE SO IMPERATIVE?

Workers’ compensation in New York does not pay for personal pain and suffering, pays no punitive damages, and does not hold employers responsible for hazardous workplace conditions. That’s why, if you are injured on the job, you must determine if a third party can be held liable.

You must have a good injury attorney’s advice from the start. While a lawsuit can offer more to a victim than workers’ comp provides, it also entails having to prove that a third party – or in rare cases, an employer – was negligent. Workers’ comp has no similar requirement.

Of course, an accident victim must seek medical attention immediately after being injured. Even if you don’t “feel” injured, you must be examined, because some injuries can stay undetected and latent for weeks after an accident – and then emerge as a serious health threat.

medical records

An immediate medical exam will create the medical records that you will need as evidence if you file a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party personal injury claim, or both.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO A WORKPLACE INJURY LAW FIRM IN NY?

New York’s statute of limitations gives workplace injury victims three years from the injury date to take legal action. Do not wait three years – in fact, don’t wait three weeks – to consult an experienced Rochester workplace injury attorney. Do it at once.

new york law books

How can you pay for an attorney’s help if you’re injured, can’t work, and the bills are mounting?

If you are a workplace injury victim in this state, your first consultation with an injury attorney is free. If you and your lawyer choose to move forward with a third-party personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer does not receive an attorney’s fee until you receive your compensation.

HOW MANY JOB-RELATED INJURIES HAPPEN IN OUR STATE?

The U.S. Department of Labor tells us that more than 139,000 work-related injuries and illnesses were reported by private sector employers in the state of New York in 2016.

A job-related injury or illness can befall anyone who works for a living. If it happens to you, get the legal help you need, pick up the phone, and arrange to meet with a New York workplace injury lawyer immediately.

Winter Weather Slip-And-Falls – What To Do

bikes and snow

Winters in western New York can be exceptionally fierce. They create frozen parking lots and slippery sidewalks that give rise to serious slip-and-fall injuries and premises liability lawsuits.

In the state of New York, property owners are legally obligated to take reasonable steps to protect their guests and visitors from hazardous conditions. If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, speak at once with an experienced Rochester premises liability attorney.

WHAT ARE VICTIMS OF NEGLIGENCE ENTITLED TO BY LAW?

When a property owner’s negligence is the cause of injuries, victims are entitled under New York law to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. A good premises liability lawyer can review your case and fight for the compensation you deserve.

court room in rochester

To determine if a property owner is liable for injuries associated with a snow and ice injury, the law in New York makes a distinction between the “natural” and “unnatural” accumulation of snow and ice.

WHAT ARE “NATURAL” AND “UNNATURAL” SNOW OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS?

A “natural” accumulation of snow and ice is entirely attributable to natural, normal events like snowstorms and freezing rain.

A property owner is not required to remove “natural” snow and ice accumulations during a storm in progress, but is responsible for snow and ice removal once the storm has passed because then the property owner will have time to properly maintain its premises (for example by removing the hazardous condition, or barricading off the hazardous areas) to make the premises safe.

Generally speaking, “unnatural” snow and ice accumulation means that the snow and ice create a potential hazard for reasons other than natural reasons.

Let’s say, for example, that the roof of your business overhangs a sidewalk, and that dripping icicles from your roof make the sidewalk slippery “unnaturally.”

unnatural snow

Any “unnatural” accumulation of ice, snow, and/or water around drains, under gutters, in doorways, or on sidewalks can pose a hazard that potentially makes a property owner liable.

WHAT DO PROPERTY OWNERS IN NEW YORK NEED TO KNOW?

If you are the owner of a business property, you probably already remove ice and snow for customers and employees. The condition of your property and the way you remove snow and ice are important factors. Any mistakes can lead to injuries, liability, and lawsuits.

Commercial property owners must ensure that gutters and drains are functioning properly and ensure that water is directed or drained into a safe location. Accumulated water in a parking lot or on a sidewalk may create a hazardous ice patch.

Leaks can also create hazardous patches of ice. Businesses usually repair leaks right away in areas with public access, but leaks in other locations sometimes go unnoticed and create genuine hazards.

HOW CAN PROPERTY OWNERS PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM LIABILITY?

Let’s say that you are a gas station owner, and your station has a canopy to protect customers from bad weather as they pump gas. A leak in the canopy can create a dangerous and clearly unnatural ice patch. It’s the type of potential hazard that can be overlooked quite easily.

When you remove ice and water around a business, be certain that it does not accumulate in a pothole or a depression where it can re-freeze and create a hazard. Business owners should keep their anti-icing or de-icing equipment well-maintained.

businesses in snow

While it’s unreasonable to expect property owners to clear snow and ice during an ongoing storm, it must be cleared quickly and in a reasonable period of time once the storm has passed

WHAT WILL THE COURTS LOOK AT IN A PREMISES LIABILITY CASE?

In a premises liability case arising from a snow and ice-related slip-and-fall injury, a court will take into account the weather conditions when the injury happened, the amount of time the hazard existed, the type of property, and the condition of the property where the injury occurred.

The injuries that are frequently sustained due to snow and ice accumulations include but are not limited to broken bones to leg, neck, back, and head injuries. Some slip-and-fall injuries cause permanent disability. Those victims will need the maximum available compensation.

HOW CAN YOU PREVAIL WITH A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM?

Sustaining an injury alone, is not enough to prevail in a premises liability claim, particularly if the case arises from a snow or ice-related injury.

To win damages, an injury victim must prove that the property owner:

1. knew or should have known that hazardous snow, ice, and/or water had accumulated
2. had a reasonable opportunity to remove the hazardous snow, ice, and/or water and failed

An injury victim must also prove that the accumulated snow, ice, and/or water was a direct cause of his or her personal injury or injuries. Your accident attorney may need to call on medical experts and/or accident reconstruction specialists to testify or provide statements on your behalf.

HOW SOON WILL YOU NEED TO SPEAK WITH AN ACCIDENT LAW FIRM?

Winters can be quite enjoyable in western New York, but you need to be aware that after it’s been snowing, the possibility of becoming injured is heightened. If you’re injured by slipping on a snow or ice accumulation, take your case at once to an experienced Rochester premises liability attorney.

You’ll need to speak with an attorney right away – as soon as you’ve received medical treatment. If you don’t, evidence could deteriorate or disappear, and the memories of witnesses can fade rapidly.

Although the statute of limitations in New York generally gives you three years to file a personal injury lawsuit, there may be very short timeframes which govern, for example, if the premises owner is a municipality.

lawyer in court

Regardless of the time allowed by statute to commence an action, you’ll want to speak with an attorney right away. Putting your attorney on the case at once is absolutely imperative.

WHAT WILL IT COST AN INJURY VICTIM TO SEEK JUSTICE?

If you’ve been injured by slipping on snow or ice, and if you believe that a negligent property owner should be held accountable, it doesn’t cost anything to learn more about your rights and options. An injury victim’s first consultation with an injury attorney is free.

If you and your attorney move forward with legal action, you’ll pay no attorney’s fee until you are compensated for your losses. By working on a contingent fee basis, personal injury attorneys provide a way for everybody – even those in modest circumstances – to have their day in court.

If you’ve been injured because a property owner was negligent, you are entitled to compensation. A good premises liability lawyer can help you get the recovery you deserve.

If you’re injured by negligence in New York, exercise your right to compensation. Do not wait. Nothing is more important than your health and your future.

What To Do When Your Insurance Claim Is Denied

court house in New York

Consumers in the state of New York have substantial legal protection. For example, consumers can hold insurance companies liable for bad faith – that is, for unfair insurance practices. This is where an injury attorney can help.

If you’re injured in a car wreck or any other accident, or if your vehicle or other property – your home or business, for example – is damaged in an accident, your insurance company should compensate you quickly. Unfortunately, many consumers have to fight for their reimbursement.

Even accident victims who have been severely injured may have to deal with excuses, brush-offs, unreasonable delays, and other obstacles to acquiring the insurance settlement they need, deserve, and are entitled to under the law.

WHO CAN BE A VICTIM OF INSURANCE BAD FAITH?

Keep reading. Anyone can be injured or sustain property damage unexpectedly. You are going to learn exactly what insurance “bad faith” is, and you’ll also learn what your rights are if you become a victim of insurance bad faith here in New York.

Anyone who files a property or injury claim can potentially end up in a dispute with an insurance company. In Western New York, if you can’t get an insurance company to meet its obligation to you, an experienced Rochester personal injury attorney can take legal action on your behalf.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF INSURANCE BAD FAITH?

Bad faith is the legal term that describes what happens whenever insurance companies handle a property claim or an injury claim negligently or unfairly.

instances of bad faith

Insurance company practices that are particular instances of bad faith include:

1. persistent efforts to settle your claim for less than its actual worth
2. unwarranted delays in handling your claim
3. giving you false or disingenuous reasons for denying your claim
4. threatening to cancel coverage unless you agree to an insufficient settlement amount
5. persistently requesting more details as a stalling tactic

WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF INSURANCE BAD FAITH VICTIMS?

In some cases, merely hiring a good injury attorney will be sufficient to make an insurance company fulfill its obligation to you. Sometimes, a letter from your attorney will be all it takes.

Consumers in New York pay a great deal for insurance, so an insurance company’s bad faith is not acceptable.

bad faith insurance practices

If you file a claim for insurance bad faith, you may be awarded the settlement you were denied along with any additional damages that a court may order. However, you must be represented by a lawyer who has substantial experience advocating for victims of bad faith insurance practices.

By itself, the denial of an insurance claim is not necessarily an act of insurance bad faith. Bad faith claims must be based on an insurance company’s specific acts or failures to act.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO COUNTER INSURANCE BAD FAITH?

What is the best way to take effective action if an insurance company operates in bad faith in New York?

You can and probably should formally file a complaint with the New York Department of Financial Services, but the Department’s own website warns, “We cannot attempt to resolve or otherwise handle every individual complaint.”

WHY WILL YOU NEED A PERSONAL INJURY LAW FIRM’S HELP?

However, you should also obtain an attorney’s help for these reasons when you are dealing with insurance bad faith:

1. Only a NY personal injury lawyer can help you to determine if an insurance company is, in fact, operating in bad faith and if you qualify to file a lawsuit.

2. If your case goes to court, and if your claim prevails, the court will compel the insurance company to compensate you adequately.

insurance bad faith claim

3. If your insurance bad faith claim prevails, you may also be able to have your legal fees paid by the insurance company.

An insurance company owes good faith to every consumer who files a property or injury claim, whether the consumer is a policyholder or a third party. If you are victimized by bad faith insurance practices, have a reliable insurance attorney handle your case.

HOW WILL YOU AND YOUR ATTORNEY PROVE YOUR BAD FAITH CLAIM?

How will an accident attorney prove that you are a victim of insurance bad faith? As mentioned previously, a bad faith claim must be based on an insurance company’s specific acts or failures to act.

Here is how you can help your own bad faith insurance case:

1. When an accident happens that will generate an insurance claim, make and securely store copies of the relevant insurance documents as well as any correspondence that you have with the insurance company.

2. Make notes of every conversation with an insurance company representative and include the time, date, and name of the representative.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR AN INSURANCE BAD FAITH CLAIM TO PREVAIL?

For your insurance bad faith claim to prevail, you and your attorney will have to prove that an insurance company’s denial of benefits was more than a mere mistake. Instead, you’ll have to prove that it was intentional or negligent behavior.

Your lawyer will study the details of your property or injury claim and your subsequent bad faith claim. Your lawyer may also request from the insurance company the documents related to your claim as well as documents describing the company’s procedures and policies.

bad faith cases

Representatives of the insurance company may be required to provide depositions or courtroom testimony. In some bad faith cases, your attorney may ask an authority in the insurance industry to testify as an expert witness about the industry’s practices and procedures.

Particularly when an insurance company has failed to follow its own procedures and policies – and when your attorney can prove it – an insurance bad faith lawsuit will very probably prevail.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

Here is one last thing you must know. In Western New York, if you are injured in a traffic crash because another driver was negligent, you should take your case directly to a personal injury attorney, and then refer all inquiries from the insurance company to that law firm.

Property can be replaced, and in most cases, it is actually more practical to handle a property damage claim on your own. You, however, cannot be replaced. If you have been injured, let an experienced Rochester personal injury lawyer handle your injury claim from the very beginning.

And if you become a victim of bad faith insurance practices regarding any insurance claim, discuss your rights and options promptly with a reliable New York injury attorney. Any time you deal with an insurance company, having the help of a good injury lawyer is your right.

Can You Borrow Money From A Lawsuit?

If you’re injured by someone else’s careless negligence in the state of New York – by a distracted driver, a negligent healthcare provider, or even by a defective consumer product – you are entitled by law to full compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. You need the help of a Rochester personal injury attorney at once.

However, it may take a considerable amount of time for an injured victim of negligence to receive that full compensation. If an injury claim cannot be settled out of court, a personal injury trial is necessary and the case then may not be resolved for a least a year – and even longer when a case is complicated.

And while a personal injury claim is pending, the bills are piling up. If you are recovering from injuries and you’re unable to work, you could very quickly find yourself facing temporary – but nevertheless quite serious – financial hardship.

Let’s be frank. If you’re filing a personal injury claim that could take months to resolve, and if you’re injured and away from work, unless your savings are considerable, you are very quickly going to need some cash until you can return to work or until your claim is resolved.

WHAT ARE LAWSUIT LOANS?

One option to consider – but consider it very carefully – is what’s called a lawsuit loan. A lawsuit loan is a cash loan against a future out-of-court settlement or jury verdict. Lawsuit loans are also called “litigation financing,” lawsuit funding, and “lawsuit advances.”

However, and as you might imagine, you have to be quite careful about applying for and accepting a lawsuit loan. Borrowing against your personal injury award is a way to deal with short-term financial obligations, but the long-term cost may be too much to bear.

If you apply for a lawsuit loan, it’s imperative to do your research and understand the real cost.

Lenders who offer lawsuit loans sell the product primarily to injured victims of negligence in personal injury cases – cases arising from traffic accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, defective consumer products, and incidents of medical malpractice.

Here in New York, if you sustain a personal injury or injuries in a traffic collision or any other accident caused by someone else’s negligence, after you have been treated by a healthcare professional, discuss your case at once with an experienced Rochester personal injury attorney.

WHAT WILL A PERSONAL INJURY LAW FIRM DO?

If you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence, and if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim, your personal injury lawyer will:

1. investigate the accident and your injury
2. examine the applicable insurance policies
3. review the evidence and question the pertinent witnesses
4. determine precisely who has legal liability
5. hold the liable party or parties accountable
6. negotiate aggressively for the compensation you need and deserve

Most personal injury claims – about ninety percent – are settled privately when attorneys for both sides meet and negotiate away from the courtroom. However, if your case cannot be settled out of court, you may have to go to trial to obtain the compensation that is rightfully yours.

And that can take months. A complicated, disputed case can sometimes stretch out for more than a year. With your medical bills mounting and no income from your job, a lawsuit loan might look quite tempting. But is a lawsuit loan really a wise option?

HOW DO LAWSUIT LOANS WORK?

After you’ve filed a personal injury claim, you apply for the loan from a lawsuit loan lender. The lender evaluates your claim to determine how much you should receive if you negotiate a settlement or prevail in a personal injury trial.

If your loan is approved, you’ll receive it right away. You agree to repay the loan (the principal) along with a “funding fee” or interest on the loan from your compensation when you receive it.

WHAT’S THE CATCH?

You’ll usually be told that the interest or “funding fee” is from two percent to four percent per month. Sounds reasonable, right? But do the math.

The actual annual interest on a lawsuit loan can run as high as sixty percent. If a complicated personal injury lawsuit and trial takes place over two years, you could be obligated to pay back twice what you borrowed – or more.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE?

When you and your attorney reach a personal injury settlement or prevail at trial, some of your costs must be paid at that time. These costs can include:

1. The attorney’s fee: For most personal injury cases, the attorney’s fee is usually from thirty-three to forty percent of the full, final compensation amount.

2. Routine lawsuit expenses: Expenses can include expenditures ranging from copy machine costs to paying for an expert witness and his or her time and expenses.

3. Medical liens: If you obtain medical services from hospitals, doctors, or other healthcare providers on the basis of a medical lien, that lien must be paid from the compensation amount – before you personally receive any compensation.

When these costs are paid, if you took out a lawsuit loan, the lender is paid from what remains.

WHAT ARE YOUR ALTERNATIVES?

If you need cash while your personal injury case is pending, consider all of your alternatives and discuss the matter with your personal injury lawyer. You may have other options:

1. Is there any insurance coverage that might provide quick cash?
2. Do you qualify for any state or federal disability benefits?
3. Could a loan from your bank or credit union provide better terms than a lawsuit loan?
4. What about a personal loan from a friend or a family member?

Yes, a lawsuit loan can cover immediate financial obligations, and if for any reason a jury decides against you in a personal injury trial, you do not have to repay the lender. It’s the risk the lender takes, and it’s the main reason that interest rates on lawsuit loans are so outrageously high.

WHAT DOES IT COST TO BEGIN PURSUING JUSTICE?

You, however, don’t have to take any risks in order to pursue the justice you deserve. A Rochester personal injury lawyer will provide a free first legal consultation to an injured victim of negligence.

You’ll learn how the law applies to your own case and whether you should take legal action. If you and your attorney agree to pursue compensation, you’ll pay no attorney’s fee until and unless compensation is recovered on your behalf.

If you are injured by another person’s negligence, you have two immediate priorities. Get medical attention at once – that’s first. Then get the legal advice and representation you need from an experienced Rochester personal injury attorney. That is your right.