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Is workers' comp the only program available for the injured?

New Yorkers who work in the construction injury know that it is a dangerous business. Any construction site presents some special hazards and risks, such as having to work near traffic or work in high places with less than sure footing. Even when the worker is being as careful as possible, serious accidents that can lead to permanent or long-term catastrophic injuries still can and do occur.

Many New Yorkers and residents of Long Island already know that if they get hurt on the job, they are entitled to workers' compensation benefits which cover their medical and other injury-related expenses and some, but not all, of their lost income.

They also may realize that, in New York, workers' compensation is an "exclusive remedy" against their employer, meaning that, since they get workers' compensation, they cannot turn around and sue their employer for negligence on account of the accident. While this is understandable, it means that an injured construction worker may be left without full compensation, especially when it comes to non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

However, New York's workers' compensation laws do not prohibit a worker from pursuing personal injury claims against anyone else who may be responsible for the accident. For example, a construction worker who get hit by a careless motorist while working along the side of a highway can sue the motorist and ask for all available compensation, including pain and suffering. He or she may be able to get workers' compensation as well, and if he does, that might reduce what he or she can obtain from the motorist.

Even if workers' compensation is all an injured construction employee can expect from his or her employer, other options with respect to responsible third parties may be available.

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