A tragic accident occurred recently in Roslyn Heights on Long Island. A construction worker on a gas main project for the National Grid power company was struck by a steel plate. The steel plate knocked the 39-year-old worker into a 10-foot hole, landing on him and severing his legs below the knee.
According to the Associated Press, Nassau County police were able to get into the hole in time to save the man’s life by applying tourniquets to stop the bleeding. At the time of the report, the man was in stable condition in an area hospital.
The gas main project was being performed by Grace. National Grid said that work was stopped in order to allow an investigation.
Worker could be entitled to more than workers’ compensation
Although this incident was a tragedy and could end the worker’s career, he does have rights. New York workers’ compensation law provides injured workers with compensation for their medical expenses and partial replacement of their lost wages. When the injury is disabling, the worker is entitled to disability benefits, along with “Schedule Loss of Use” or “Non-Schedule” benefits for amputated limbs.
Depending on the exact circumstances, however, the worker could have the right to file a personal injury claim on top of seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
First, understand that the workers’ compensation system is set up so that injured workers do not have to prove their employer was at fault in order to collect benefits. In exchange, they are barred from bringing negligence-based personal injury lawsuits against their employer.
However, that rule only applies when the injured worker’s employer, or someone working for that employer, was responsible for the injury or occupational illness.
On construction sites, there are usually several different companies performing work, including subcontractors, vendors, suppliers and tradespeople. In addition, the land or building owner has the ability to be negligent and cause injuries or illness. If the owner, someone from another company or any third party besides your own employer is responsible for your injury or illness, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against that party even though you are already seeking workers’ compensation.
Before you file a claim, it is important to have a clear understanding of who was at fault. An experienced injury attorney can help you prove it in court.