Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides medical benefits and wage replacement to employees that have been injured at work. This is done in exchange for the relinquishment of the employee’s ability to sue his employer for negligence. If you work or live in New York State and suffer from a work-related disability, illness, or injury, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Call a NYC workplace injury lawyer at (212) 732-2929 and know more about your benefits.
Disability, Injury, and Illness at Work
To receive workers’ comp benefits, you will need to prove that you have a disability, illness, or injury that is a direct result of your employment. New York State law states that the injury or accident must have occurred in “the course of the employment,” meaning that you need to have been on the job when the accident happened. For example, accidents that occur on the way to or from work typically won’t be covered by workers’ compensation laws.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you also need to show that you provided your employer with adequate notice of your injury, illness, or accident. This means that you need to provide your employer with a written report of what happened within 30 days of the event. If the Workers’ Compensation Board believes that your employer had full knowledge of the accident during that 30 time frame, this requirement is often excused.
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Filing for Workers’ Compensation in New York
In the State of New York, most employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. The employer will need to pay for this insurance, and employers are not allowed to make employees contribute to the costs associated with these policies. When claims are filed with the workers’ compensation insurance company, the company will be the one to decide on whether they accept a claim, contest a claim in its entirety, or contest a portion of the claim that has been filed by an injured employee.
The Workers’ Compensation Board is the New York State agency that is responsible for deciding claims filed with the Workers’ Compensation Law. The Board acts similar to a court, providing judges to decide on disputes between insurance companies and injured workers. This can be completed by holding a hearing or simply issuing a written decision based on documentation sent in by the injured party, medical providers, and the insurance company.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The amount of compensation that you will receive when injured and out of work will depend on two major factors:
- Average weekly wage. This will depend on how much you were earning with your employer in the year prior to your accident. Some adjustments may apply depending on your age, the amount of time you worked for your employer, and the number of jobs you were working.
- Degree of disability. You can be classified as either partial or total disability. If you are found to be totally disabled, meaning you cannot do any type of work whatsoever, you should receive the maximum rate. However, if you are only partially disabled, meaning you can still do some type of work, will likely receive a lower amount of compensation.
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Receiving Medical Treatment
After your compensation case has been established by the Compensation Board or accepted by the insurance company, your related medical expenses will be covered. However, you can only receive treatment from medical providers who have been coded via the Workers’ Compensation Board, and reports and bills should be sent directly to the insurance company and the Board. Even if bills are pending to be addressed at a hearing, claimants should never be asked to pay for a medical bill with the provider.
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What Workers Need to Know
Any time that you suffer a serious injury at work, it is recommended that you speak to an attorney. There are special laws in the state that offer extra protections to certain workers, such as employees of the construction industry. Attorneys that represented injured parties in workers’ compensation claims don’t charge fees until money has been recovered for the injured worker. You should also keep these tips in mind:
- If you are unable to work because of your disability, you need to see your doctor regularly, as your disability can only be verified by medical records.
- Keep track of your expenses, especially your mileage to and from medical providers, therapists, and other professionals. Hold on to your receipts for medical supplies, prescriptions, and other expenses.
- If you return to work after an injury and are being compensated at a lesser amount, keep track of your earnings carefully.
- Bring copies of your medical reports and proof of earnings with you to any hearing with the Compensation Board.
If you have been injured at work and don’t know where to turn, be sure to contact an attorney for guidance.
Do you need additional information about filing for workers’ compensation in New York? Check out these helpful resources:
- Workers Compensation Employer Procedures
- What to Do if You Are Injured at Work
- NY State Workers Compensation Board
- NY State Employer Requirements
- A Brief History of Workers Comp