LAWSUITS BY PUBLIC EMPLOYEES vs. LAWSUITS BY
EMPLOYEES OF PRIVATE EMPLOYERS
In every lawsuit based on a party’s “negligence“, in addition to a recovery for “pain and suffering”, the injured party is entitled to recover for the amount the injured party paid for medical costs and for the loss of future earnings. A person with such a lawsuit who is in the PRIVATE sector has any eventual award they win reduced by any reimbursement they have received, or will receive, through such vehicles as medical insurance, disability payments or disability pensions. This stands to reason: the law does not allow a windfall to the injured party by permitting “double dipping”.
This was not so with New York PUBLIC sector employees.
Until just November, 2009 any New York PUBLIC sector employee, suing any municipality or subdivision, could recover for medical costs and future earnings regardless of the fact they already received, or would receive in the future, reimbursement for those items from some other source, such as a union disability pension or fund. A true “double dipping” windfall. This situation has ended by act of the New York Sate legislature. The situation for the Public sector employee is now the same as for the Private sector employee (and likewise, for the Private sector employer and the Governmental employer) “double dipping” is over, for everyone! In this time of deep cuts in all governmental budgets, New York City alone stands to save about fifteen million dollars this year because of this new legislation. Small wonder this legislation passed almost unanimously in both houses of the New York State legislature.