In most instances, if you are injured on the job you won’t be able to directly sue your employer for the costs associated with your injury. This is because New York has a workers’ compensation system under which employees receive compensation. This bars a claim against your employer. However, if you have suffered from a “grave injury” in Hudson, Kingston, Albany, or anywhere in New York, you may be able to hold your employer liable through a third-party law suit.
A third-party suit would happen by you suing someone else who might have caused your injury, like a machine manufacturer for example, and then that person would add your employer to the suit in order to receive a contribution from the employer should a court find that you are entitled to monetary compensation. This is where the grave injury requirement enters into the equation and it is necessary in order to hold your employer liable for your worksite injury.
Section 11 of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law states that a grave injury is limited to the following injuries: the loss/amputation of a hand, foot, arm, leg, finger, toe; paraplegia or quadriplegia; blindness; deafness; severe facial disfigurement that is permanent; loss of a nose and/or an ear; and even permanent brain injuries that result in complete disability.
Remember, if you don’t suffer from a grave injury caused by an accident at work, then you will not be able to recover from your employer. You also need to know that New York courts narrowly define grave injury to injuries listed in the workers’ compensation statute.
For example, in Castro v. United Container Machinery Corp., a case decided by the New York Court of Appeals, it was held that the loss of part of one’s finger was not a grave injury. Nor would it be if several fingers were partially severed. Rather, the entire finger would have to be severed in order for the loss to be considered a grave injury. Additionally, the loss of a thumb is not a grave injury because a thumb is not a finger. Further, facial disfigurement must be severe.
The court did this for three reasons. First, to limit the applicability of another case, Dole v. Dow Chemical Corp., that more broadly defined “grave injury”. Second, because the court felt that such was what the legislature wanted when elected officials drafted the statue. And third, because the court wants to be clear in its belief that the Workers’ Compensation laws were written in order to reduce the number of suits related to workplace injuries; meaning, workers’ compensation is to be the primary means by which employees would be compensated for workplace injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury that may be a grave injury, whether in Hudson, or elsewhere in the Hudson Valley, you may be entitled to compensation. In order to achieve maximum compensation, contact an experienced Hudson construction accident attorney.
The attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle construction accident cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County. Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents. Please contact us today to receive a free case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.