Businesses get extra time to file workers’ comp claims after Sandy

Super storm Sandy will not be easily forgotten in the areas affected-especially those counties that were declared disaster zones, such as Richmond County, the county encompassing Staten Island, as well as Orange, Rockland and Westchester counties. In these areas, residents and businesses are still trying to recover and rebuild, as any workplaces accidents attorney in New York knows.

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently stated that the New York State Insurance Fund is extending payment deadlines for four disaster-zone counties during the super storm. Any deadlines that fall between October 26 and December 26 are now extended to January 26, to allow businesses the time to recover from the storm.

That is good news for employers struggling to pay out workers’ comp benefits in the aftermath of the storm. A workers’ compensation claim is not a lawsuit against an employer per se; but rather more like an insurance claim with the end goal of obtaining benefits.

Generally, when making a workers’ compensation claim, employees agree not to bring a lawsuit against their employer, in exchange for entitlement to workers’ comp benefits. Benefits are automatic and do not depend on a finding of fault for the injuries.

Typically, workers’ compensation covers injuries caused by mental and physical strain brought on by work duties or stress; injuries caused during work breaks, including the lunch hour and injuries caused by the use of the employer’s facilities. Workers’ comp may also compensate for preexisting conditions, such as back pain, that the workplace aggravates or increases.

However, not all injuries are covered. Injuries sustained while traveling to and from work may not be covered unless the employer provides the employee with a means of transportation, such as a bus or by compensating for the cost of the employee’s commute.

Source: Newsday, “Hudson Valley businesses hurt by Sandy get more time for workers’ comp,” John Dyer, Nov. 28, 2012

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