What Third Parties Can You Sue for a Work Injury in New York?

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    If you were injured at work, you might be surprised to find out that you likely cannot sue your employer for injuries.  There are certainly exceptions where independent workers might be able to sue their “clients” since they are not “employers.”  There are also other exceptions where you can still sue your employer.  But one of the best ways to file a lawsuit is to sue a third party, as there are no restrictions on those lawsuits.

    Some examples of third parties you can sue for injury after a workplace accident include equipment manufacturers, customers, other contractors, builders or property owners, vendors, and drivers.  There may be some overlap with these cases where you can indeed also sue your employer alongside these parties, and there are other parties you could potentially be able to sue as well.

    For help with a work injury case, call the New York personal injury lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083.

    Third-Party Defendants You Can Sue for Workplace Accidents in New York

    After an accident at work, you have to sue the party who caused the accident.  In many cases, this could be your employer, but you cannot legally sue them.  That would limit you to being able to get only the compensation available through Workers’ Compensation unless our Oyster Bay personal injury lawyers can find a separate exception that allows you to sue your employer.

    Otherwise, if your accident was caused by someone other than your employer, your right to sue them remains.  These third-party defendants can include many different parties, but some of the more common ones are as follows:


    If your injury was caused by a defective piece of equipment that you use at work, you could be entitled to sue the company that manufactured it.  For example, if a piece of machinery you use at work is designed to have an automatic shutoff to prevent injury if a hand gets in the way, but that system is faulty, you could be seriously injured by that defect.  This could open the manufacturer to liability.

    You can also sue for defective safety equipment if it should have protected you from the injury you faced.  However, in these cases, it might be possible that the safety gear would not have fully saved you from injury but merely reduced the injury.  That could reduce the total damages but still put the manufacturer at fault for the portion of injury the equipment failed to prevent.


    A lot of accidents at work happen because of customers rather than employers or coworkers.  In cases of something as severe as assault, you can certainly report the customer to the police, but you could also be entitled to sue them in civil court.  With other accidents, customers could also be sued for their negligence.

    For example, you could be entitled to sue a customer for tipping over a shelf on top of you, leaving a heavy item precariously on a high shelf, creating a spill and failing to inform anyone about it, or starting a fire with a discarded cigarette butt at your workplace.


    If you are working at a job site or place of business where a contractor of some kind is doing work, they are usually a separate entity from your employer.  For example, a general contractor brought in to reframe a door could be liable if they drop a tool on your head, or an electrician rewiring the building could be liable if they cause something to spark and cause you shocks or burns.  Contractors can also be held liable for leaving exposed wiring, unstable flooring, or dangerous objects around when they leave for the day.

    Builders and Building Owners

    Many of the same issues that could be caused by contractors could be caused by the people who originally built the place where you work.  Especially in new construction, a dangerous outlet or light switch might be discovered by an innocent employee who works at the building.  You could also potentially sue for a structural collapse, such as a railing that falls off or a balcony that falls through.

    Building owners are also responsible for the conditions inside their property.  Many workers work in locations where the office or specific store they work in is inside another building owned by a third party.  These parties can be liable for things like dangerous elevators, dangerous lobbies, structural problems, dangers in shared restrooms, uncleared snow and ice, and other problems with the premises.


    Many workers deal with products and supplies purchased from third parties.  If your employer bought products from a company that supplied faulty goods, the vendor could be liable.  Vendors who come to the job site for deliveries could also be liable for injuries they cause you while carrying out their duties, such as forklift accidents or delivery accidents.


    Drivers of all kinds could be liable for injuries they cause you while you are working.  Whether your job involves driving yourself, getting a ride to different job sites, working near traffic, or working in a parking lot, you could encounter many different cars throughout your day.  Any driver who causes an accident could potentially be liable for the crash, but there are other insurance laws that limit when you can file lawsuits for car accidents.

    Shared Liability Between Employers and Third Parties in New York

    While you usually cannot sue your employer, there are many situations where your employer and a third party both share fault.  For example, a roadside construction worker injured by a passing truck could be able to sue the truck driver.  However, their employer might have failed to erect a proper safety barrier, putting them at fault as well.

    There are exceptions where an employer can be sued for their negligence in a workplace accident if they violated certain safety rules.  In these cases, you can then get some of the damages from your employer and some from the third-party defendant.

    Call Our New York Work Injury Attorneys Today

    If you were hurt at work, call (718) 841-0083 for a free case review with The Carrion Law Firm’s Harlem personal injury lawyers.