Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | December 2, 2022 | Construction Accidents
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces workplace safety regulations. So, can you sue your employer for an OSHA violation if it caused you injury? The bad news is that you generally cannot. The good news is that you might not need to since New York workers’ compensation will probably cover your claim. You can win a workers’ compensation claim without even proving your employer was at fault.
Even if cannot sue your employer for a workplace accident, you might consider the following alternatives:
- Report your employer to OSHA; or
- Sue a third party who might be responsible for your injuries.
Speak to a lawyer to better understand your options.
Option 1: File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation applies to most workplace injuries. Its main advantage is that you do not have to prove that your employer was at fault to win. In fact, you can usually win even if the accident was your fault. It only matters that your employer was at fault in rare cases, such as when they physically assault you. Because it doesn’t matter in most circumstances, OSHA regulations are generally irrelevant to your claim.
The main disadvantage of filing a workers’ compensation claim is that you cannot sue your employer in court. Consequently, you cannot claim non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation will pay only your medical expenses, a portion of your lost earnings, and a limited selection of other expenses.
Option 2: Report Your Employer to OSHA
This remedy is not exclusive. You can report your employer to OSHA even while your workers’ compensation claim is pending. OSHA will investigate your complaint, require your employer to remedy any violation, and perhaps impose sanctions such as fines. You won’t receive any money for reporting your employer to OSHA, but it might result in a safer working environment for you and your co-workers in the future.
How To File an OSHA Claim
You can file an OSHA complaint online using their online complaint form. You can also file your complaint in person at the local OSHA office, by telephone, by fax, or by email. Call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) for general information.
OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Plan
It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting an OSHA violation.
- Firing you;
- Laying you off;
- Demoting you;
- Denying you promotions;
- Disciplining you;
- Denying you benefits;
- Harassing you;
- Threatening you;
- Reducing your pay or hours;
- Isolating you, mocking you, or otherwise creating a hostile work environment for you;
- Interfering with your ability to obtain future employment;
- Reporting you to immigration authorities; or
- Other hostile actions
You can report employer retaliation by filling out an OSHA Whistleblower Complaint Form.
Option 3: Sue a Third Party
The rule that prevents you from suing your employer does not prevent you from suing a third party, such as a property owner, a general contractor, or the manufacturer of a defective product. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, you must prove that the third party was at fault for your injuries. Proving that the third party violated an OSHA regulation will go a long way toward proving the third party liable for your injuries.
The main advantage of filing an ordinary personal injury lawsuit instead of a workers’ compensation claim is that you can sue for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering damages alone often amount to far more than 50% of the total value of a personal injury claim. Try to find a third party to sue if you can because you will likely bring home far more compensation if you win.
An Experienced New York City Workplace Accident Lawyer Can Help
The regulations governing compensation for workplace injuries can be a maze for the uninitiated. You can lose your claim or settle for far less than it is worth unless you understand every nuance of the relevant law. An experienced NYC workplace injury lawyer will fight to make sure you receive every dime you deserve.