If a New York employee is injured by a third party in a car accident while in the scope of employment, that employee will likely have to put a number of insurance companies on notice.
Generally speaking, the Insurance Law affects the recovery of certain damages after a motor vehicle collision. First-party benefits are defined as “payments to reimburse a person for basic economic loss on account of personal injury arising out of the use or operation of a motor vehicle” Basic economic loss “means, up to fifty thousand dollars per person” for medical expenses, loss of earnings, and “[a]ll other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred, up to twenty-five dollars per day for not more than one year from the date of the accident . . .”
Thus, in most cases after a car accident, basic economic losses will be paid by the applicable no-fault insurance carrier. That insurance carrier will depend on the unique circumstances. It could be the insurer for the car the injured person occupied; it could be the insurer for the car that struck the injured person, especially if injured as a pedestrian; and it also could be the insurer of a family member with whom the injured person resided.
Things can be different, however, if the injured person was acting in the scope of their employment such that they would be entitled to make a workers’ compensation claim.
The New York Workers’ Compensation Law “provides that if an employee who is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits is injured by the negligence or wrong of another not in the same employ, such injured employee … [may] pursue [a] remedy against such other subject to the provisions of this chapter.” Nevertheless, exempted from this workers’ compensation lien are “the proceeds of any recovery received pursuant to [Insurance Law § 5104(a)] . . . for compensation and/or medical benefits which were in lieu of first party benefits which another insurer would have otherwise been obligated to pay under article fifty-one of the insurance law.”
Generally speaking, someone injured by a third party while acting in the scope of their employment can still assert a personal injury claim against that third party while at the same time receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
This “third-party claim” would not run afoul of the general rule that workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy “when [an] employee is injured or killed by the negligence or wrong of another in the same employ” because the negligent party would not be a co-employee, but instead someone else.
The attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. have experience helping those injured in New York car accidents. Contact us and speak to one of our car accident lawyers.