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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Post Can a Contractor's Former Employee Sue its Client Over an On-the-Job Injury

    My question involves workers compensation law for the state of: NJ

    We are a subcontractor company and we perform construction work for a general contractor. Back in Oct 2016 one of our workers suffered a gravity injury causing the dislocation of his arm. It was agreed that the company would pay for his medical bills and any subsequent expense due to the injury such as therapy, doctors' appointments, work leave, etc. After roughly 2-1/2 months of paying his expenses, medicals and work leave, he came into the office and claimed his doctor cleared him to return back to work on the upcoming week. We scheduled him for light work but he failed to return. After 2 weeks of radio silence and a couple attempts to reaching out to him, we received a letter stating the company was getting sued by him for extended personal injury. A claim with our worker's comp was opened and he is now getting taken care of by the worker's comp.

    Our employee is now suing the end client, owner of the building, stating that they failed to provide a safe work environment in accordance to NY labor laws.

    So my questions really is, can my employee's lawyer get anything out of the end client? I am looking to lawyer up, I thought this would be a simple worker's comp claim but everytime I think we are ok, news come in, the gen contractor is being sued and the latest is the owner.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Can My Former Employee Sue My Clients

    Are you saying your subcontracting company self-insured his compensation/medical benefits for 2 1/2 months prior to opening a WC claim? And only did so after he got a lawyer and sued? Why did you not immediately make a WC claim? Generally WC insurance covers you and no the employee can't sue the employer for injuries...WC is the single remedy when used. It was not the greatest move to not have them involved from day 1. That has thrown a kink into the whole matter unfortunately. Did the WC insurer reimburse the employer for all their previous expenses that were spent? And generally paperwork in WC claims will inform him of his rights. But by failing to file a timely claim, he may not have been informed in a timely manner.

    As for suing the other levels upward for failing to provide a safe work environment, it's always possible to sue for anything....Have you passed this lawsuit on to your general liability insurance, the general contractor's liability insurance and the owner's liability insurance? They should have lawyers on staff to deal with claims/lawsuits. They will be able to shut him down quickly if your WC is the only remedy. If he does win any type of settlement from them, it is my understanding that your WC insurance company can "subrogate" or go after expenses that they paid for the same injury. To my understanding, he doesn't get to benefit from double payment for the same expenses from the same injury. If you as the employer paid those expenses and were NOT reimbursed by your own WC carrier, you need to see if that is something you could recover from any 2nd settlement/award that he might get from the general contractor or owner.

    You really need to pass this by your own attorney or one from your WC/liability insurance carrier. This in NOT a DIY -- just like the WC injury should not have been a DIY

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Can a Contractor's Former Employee Sue its Client Over an On-the-Job Injury

    in most states there is often concurrent liability with a work injury. i would think you could get reliable legal information on the viability of his litigation from the attorney of the general contractor. if the worker was to obtain a 3rd party recovery from any source, your comp carrier would have subrogation rights to offset any expense paid on account of the injury.

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