Sue the City as a Sanitation Worker

New York City sanitation workers face unfair treatment, safety concerns, harassment, and other legal matters in the workplace, and they encounter several hurdles in trying to sue the city for compensation. Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, fights hard to help New York City sanitation workers who are not eligible for state workers’ compensation benefits seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages due to actions for which the city is responsible.

Unlike other workers in the state, some public servants, such as sanitation workers, are not covered by the state’s workers’ compensation system. If they are injured at work or suffer harm from harassment or discrimination, they can file claims against New York City.

There are strict deadlines to meet to notify the city of your intent to sue and to file your lawsuit. Failure to meet these deadlines results in a judge throwing out your case, regardless of the extent of your damages. However, as a sanitation worker, you can sue New York City for damages and keep your job.

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Can A New York Sanitation Worker Sue the City?

Meirowitz & Wasserberg: Advocates for Sanitation Workers

At Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, we firmly believe that people come first. We fight diligently in court against cities, corporations, and insurers, and our case results include over $100 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Our client testimonials demonstrate our compassion, commitment, knowledge of the law, and tenacity.

When fighting New York City, you need attorneys such as ours who are recognized as Super Lawyers and ranked in The National Trial Lawyers Top 100. Our firm is a proud member of the American Association For Justice.

Don’t face the resources of New York City alone. If you are a sanitation worker who wants to sue the city, contact our respected, experienced personal injury lawyers at Meirowitz & Wasserberg.

Understanding Sanitation Workers' Legal Rights

New York City Department of Sanitation employees include drivers, trash collectors, mechanics, and others. While most employees hurt on the job go through the workers’ compensation system, sanitation workers in the city are part of a group of public servants, including police officers, firefighters, and New York City teachers hurt on the job, who are excluded from workers’ comp.

When they are injured on the job, sanitation workers receive line-of-duty benefits, including unlimited sick leave, wages, and medical benefits. But this compensation is not always enough to cover their damages. Because they are not barred from doing so under New York workers’ compensation law, sanitation workers can sue the city. They can also sue third parties responsible for their injuries, such as the manufacturers of faulty equipment.

Like other employees in New York, sanitation workers are covered by laws that bar discrimination, harassment, wage theft, and other work issues. If a sanitation worker dies on the job, their family can file a wrongful death claim if the city was negligent.

Common Workplace Issues Faced by Sanitation Workers

Sanitation workers face several workplace issues, such as accidents due to faulty equipment, work injuries such as back trauma, and issues such as discrimination and harassment that face others in the workplace.

Sanitation workers’ on-the-job issues include:

  • Broken bones from getting caught in equipment or falling from a truck
  • Collisions with other vehicles
  • Back injuries from lifting heavy loads
  • Slip-and-falls on ice and snow
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Wage theft
  • Harassment
  • Discrimination
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Legal Avenues for Seeking Justice as a Sanitation Worker

Sanitation workers hurt on the job can sue New York City for personal injuries. They can also sue third parties, such as homeowners who failed to maintain their property.

New York Labor Law 27 mandates that public employers must maintain safe workplaces. This includes being free from hazards that can cause injury and providing reasonable and adequate protection for safety, health, and lives. If the Department of Sanitation fails to uphold these standards, workers can sue for negligence.

If you are a sanitation worker injured on the job or facing another workplace problem, the NYC personal injury lawyers at Meirowitz & Wasserberg are here to help.

Building a Strong Case: Evidence and Documentation

After you file a Notice of Claim that you are suing the city, it can require an Examination of Claims. This hearing is similar to other courtroom hearings, where you must provide testimony under oath. The city’s attorneys can ask you questions about your claim, and they may ask for a physical exam.

You need a strong legal team, such as the one at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, before an Examination of Claims. We can help you gather strong evidence such as witness testimony, medical records, workplace records that indicate a hazard existed, and evidence that the city did nothing to fix the hazard. We will prepare you for your testimony and make compelling arguments about why you deserve a fair settlement from the city. If the city won’t settle, we will take it to court.

Navigating the Complexities of City Government Liability

You generally cannot sue a city or state unless it consents because states enjoy sovereign immunity against claims from citizens. However, New York waived sovereign immunity, giving people such as sanitation workers, who don’t have access to other avenues of compensation, the right to sue the city over work-related incidents.

The deadlines for filing paperwork in a lawsuit against the city differ from other claims. You must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of a work accident or other incident or lose your ability to pursue a lawsuit later. You have one year and 90 days to file your lawsuit against the city and three years to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party.

Collaborating With Unions: Strengthening Workers' Legal Claims

New York City’s sanitation workers are members of the Teamsters and represented by Local 831, the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association. The union negotiates contracts with the city and participates in lawsuits when employees believe the city has treated them unfairly.

The lawyers at Meirowitz & Wasserberg proudly stand beside unions to protect workers’ rights. We collaborate with the Teamsters to strengthen legal claims by combining their knowledge of the intricacies of their contract and the Department of Sanitation with our dogged determination, legal knowledge, and ability to make persuasive arguments for compensation.

The Impact of Legal Action on Workplace Conditions

New York City sanitation workers and other public servants who sue the city can help make the push to improve conditions for all workers. In addition to awarding damages, a judge in a case against the Department of Sanitation might also issue a ruling that orders the department to make more sweeping changes, such as removing harmful chemicals from the workplace.

Legal actions can also help improve workplace conditions when employers are held responsible for discrimination, harassment, or failure to pay wages. For example, a group of current and former employers is suing the city and the Department of Sanitation over the requirements to earn promotion to better-paying jobs in sanitation enforcement. They claim that the requirements discriminate based on race and gender, and if they are successful, they may not only receive damages but also be responsible for agency-wide change.

Get Help From the Award-Winning Team at Meirowitz & Wasserberg

New York City sanitation workers are dedicated public servants who deserve compensation from negligent parties when they are hurt or harassed on the job. Suing the city requires filing important paperwork on time, collecting strong evidence, and making compelling arguments that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries or other harm.

The experienced and compassionate attorneys at Meirowitz & Wasserberg proudly represent New York City sanitation workers, and we aggressively fight in every case from start to finish for the damages our clients deserve. 

Get the help you need by filling out our online form for a free consultation, or call us at 212-897-1988.

How To Sue the City of New York as a Sanitation Worker - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

You don’t have to have a lawyer to sue the city, but it would be a mistake not to choose one. Lawyers with experience know how to sue the City of New York, meet all deadlines, build strong cases, and fight for you in settlement negotiations and court.

At Meirowitz & Wasserberg,we put people before corporations and cities. We work on a contingency basis with no upfront costs and only collect compensation if you do.

For injuries, you need a personal injury lawyer who knows how to sue the city for negligence and with a history of success. For cases involving discrimination or other workplace issues, choose an attorney with a proven track record in those types of cases.

Damages in each case depend on specific circumstances, such as the extent of your injuries, lost wages, and other damages. While evaluating the range of outcomes is difficult, our dedicated attorneys know how to sue the city to maximize the compensation you seek.


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