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Construction accident liability and third party litigation, P.1

In our last post, we took a very brief look at the exclusive remedy doctrine as it applies to workers' compensation claims in the state of New York. As we noted, there are few circumstances in which a injured worker may be able to sue an employer for the employer's role in causing the injury. Two possibilities are failure to secure workers' compensation coverage and committing an intentional tort against a worker.

In most cases of workplace injury, the exclusive remedy rule will prevent a worker from suing the employer for the employer's role in the accident, though it is always important to consider the possibility. More common is bringing in third parties to hold them accountable for their part in workplace accidents. 

The types of third parties that may sued in connection with a workplace accident depend on the industry and the specific circumstances of each case. In the construction industry, for instance, there are a number of possible third parties that may be held liable for causing a workplace injury. As we point out on our website, liability may attach to the construction site owner, the general contractor, subcontractors, architects, engineers, and design professionals depending on the contracts that exist with respect to ensuring the safety of the construction site.

Another possible avenue for compensation in workplace accidents, particularly those which occur on construction sites, is product liability litigation. All kinds of equipment is used on construction sites and that equipment can fail due to defects or may be used incorrectly due to inadequate warnings. In our next post, we'll continue looking at this topic.