Workers in the United States have certain rights regarding safety in their workplaces and the compensation they can receive if they are injured while doing their job. If you’ve sustained a workplace injury on-site or in any capacity or location that is work-related, you are entitled to workers’ compensation insurance benefits if you are a covered employee. A New York City workers’ compensation lawyer from Kaplan Lawyers PC can help you understand and undertake the long and often arduous process of gathering information and filing for benefits. Our team of experienced New York workers’ comp attorneys will work hard toward making sure you receive the maximum amount of benefits and the best medical care to assist in your speedy recovery and pay your bills until you return to work. And if you can never return to work because of your injuries or illness, we’ll fight hard to help ensure that you receive benefits for your permanent disability for the long term.
You can speak to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Kaplan Lawyers PC by calling (516) 399-2364 today.
- You Are Entitled to Compensation for Workplace Injuries
- After a Workplace Injury: The Workers’ Compensation Process Begins
- How the Amount of Workers’ Compensation Insurance Benefits are Determined
- Length of Time for Collecting Workers’ Compensation in New York
- Common Questions about Workers’ Comp Insurance
- A New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Is Here To Help
- Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer, NY
You Are Entitled to Compensation for Workplace Injuries
Here are some examples of workers who are more likely to suffer workplace injuries or, sadly, workplace fatalities in New York:
- Construction Workers. Working in the construction industry carries significant dangers. In fact, construction workers consistently suffer the most injuries and fatalities compared to employees in other industries. The most common causes of fatalities for construction workers are what workplace safety experts call the “fatal four,” which are falling from heights, being struck by objects, being caught in between heavy equipment or machinery, and electrocution.
- Commercial Drivers. People who drive full-time for a living or even just occasionally as part of their jobs are at significant risk of traffic accidents on New York’s busy roads and highways. Commercial drivers include salespeople, drivers of delivery trucks, semi-trucks, taxis, liveries and other vehicles that are used to perform one’s job duties. Drivers who are injured in crashes while driving for their job are typically entitled to collect workers’ compensation insurance.
- Manufacturing Workers. Manufacturing and production workers in factories are exposed to potentially dangerous machines and heavy equipment such as forklifts and other vehicles used to produce and move products. They may also work with chemicals and other toxic substances that can cause injuries and illnesses.
- Immigrant Workers. According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, immigrant workers have a 15% greater chance of being fatally injured at work than native-born workers. Immigrant laborers may be subjected to poor conditions and not receive training in proper safety procedures. They may also take more risks in their desire to do a good job and not make waves for fear of losing their job. If you are an immigrant worker, it’s important to understand that you have rights, including to workers’ compensation insurance, regardless of your green card, visa or work permit status.
After a Workplace Injury: The Workers’ Compensation Process Begins
Not every worker or injury is covered under workers’ compensation laws. To be covered by New York workers’ comp laws, your injury accident must fall into the following categories:
- Your employer has workers’ compensation coverage under New York law.
- You are a covered worker under the law.
- Your injury, illness, or disability is directly connected to your job and occurred while you were performing the duties associated with that job.
- You gave your employer a written notice of the event that caused your injury or illness immediately after the injury and no later than 30 days after it happened.
- A medical report by the treating physician states that your injury, disability, or illness was caused by an on-the-job accident or condition.
Whether you are hoping to manage your claim yourself or decide to hire a workers’ compensation attorney, what you do immediately after your injury greatly influences the resolution of your workers’ comp claim. The most important step to take that you can completely control is to immediately obtain medical treatment. If your injury is an emergency, you go where the ambulance takes you. But if it’s not, your employer could send you to a specific hospital, clinic or doctor. Be cooperative and go where your employer tells you or workers’ comp may not cover your bills and other losses. Also note that when filling out the paperwork at the hospital or doctor’s office, you should check the box that asks whether your injury happened at work. That way, your medical bills are sent either to the workers’ comp insurance company or to your employer, and not to you. And if you go to your own doctor, make certain they are approved to submit workers’ compensation claims and agree to New York State’s workers’ comp pay schedule. Then, if you haven’t already, notify your immediate supervisor about the accident – in writing. If you receive an incident report form, fill it out. If you don’t receive paperwork or a call from an insurance adjuster within a couple of days after formal notification, something may be wrong. Follow up with your boss or human resources representative; if there’s still nothing happening, you might want to call a workers’ comp lawyer.
The steps outlined here provide critical evidence that will be invaluable in obtaining approval of your claim, or when/if the case goes to court if the insurance company delays your claim or denies it. A C-3 form (Employee’s Claim for Compensation Benefits) should also be filled out. These forms can be complicated and confusing. The New York City work injury lawyers at Kaplan Lawyers PC can help you obtain, complete, and file all forms and can be reached at (516) 399-2364 or online. We can advise you every step of the way to help smooth the often complicated claims process.
New York State law dictates that you are entitled to all necessary care and, in the case of a workplace injury, an employer is responsible for all related medical bills. This goes for all workers, even volunteer workers and illegal aliens – even if it is your first day at work.
In some cases, if a third party is also found to have contributed to the accident that injured you, it too is liable for an additional “third party lawsuit” over and above your workers’ comp claim. This can help you receive the fullest possible compensation, because New York workers’ comp does not reimburse for pain and suffering, which includes emotional distress, loss of joy in life and other less tangible damages; it pays only a portion of your lost wages and cannot award punitive damages.
What is a third party, you might be wondering? A third party can be a subcontractor, a vendor, a product manufacturer or another individual or entity at your work-site or related to your job that caused or partially caused your injuries through their negligence.
How the Amount of Workers’ Compensation Insurance Benefits are Determined
The actual amount you can expect to receive in weekly cash payments to replace lost income depends upon the severity of your injuries and the degree to which your injuries have disabled you. However, it probably will not add up to what you made on the job. Your healthcare provider will examine you and determine the degree to which you are disabled and unable to work. New York has the following disability classifications for the payment of workers’ comp insurance that distinguish between temporary and permanent, and partial and total disabilities:
- Temporary total disability — An employee’s wage-earning capacity is completely lost, but only on a temporary basis.
- Permanent total disability — A worker suffers a total and permanent loss of wage-earning ability.
- Temporary partial disability — A worker’s ability to earn wages is partially lost, but only temporarily.
- Permanent partial disability — An employee is partially disabled on a permanent basis, which means part of his or her wage-earning capacity is completely lost. There are two kinds of permanent partial disability benefits, depending upon what kind of injury and body part is affected. They are called schedule loss of use and non-schedule. Schedule loss of use involves upper and lower extremities, eyesight and hearing. Non-schedule includes other body parts that are affected, such as the brain, lungs and heart.
How your disability is classified will drive the amount of weekly benefits you receive to help make up for your lost wages. The amount you receive is based on a calculation that takes into account your average weekly salary for the previous year and your level of disability. Here is the formula from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board that is used to calculate weekly workers’ comp wages:
2/3 x average weekly wage x % of disability = weekly benefit
It’s important to note that cash benefits are not paid for the first seven days of an injury. However, if your work-related disability extends beyond 14 days, benefits are paid back to the very first day of your disability.
In addition to weekly benefits to help cover lost wages, you are also entitled to have your medical bills paid that you incurred due to the accident. Medical benefits are provided no matter how short the disability is, including back to the first day of your injury. Prescription drugs you may need for your injuries or illness are also covered, but you may have to use specific pharmacies designated by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. Also, in some cases, your mileage and other transportation costs incurred to get to and from medical appointments may be covered.
If your workers’ compensation insurer is disputing your claim for payment for all of your medical treatment, a New York workers’ compensation attorney can advise you about the next steps to take. Call (516) 399-2364 for more information.
Length of Time for Collecting Workers’ Compensation in New York
If you’ve been injured and can’t work, and you aren’t even sure when or if you will be able to return to your job because of your injuries, you might be asking yourself this question: How long can I collect workers’ compensation in New York? The number of weeks you may be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits, like the amount you can expect to receive, depends upon the degree to which a doctor finds you to be disabled and unable to work.
Your healthcare provider might determine that you are temporarily disabled or permanently, but not completely, disabled, which in the latter case means that you can still work but not necessarily in your original job. In these situations, there is a limit on the number of weeks you can collect payments.
However, if you are found to have suffered a permanent total disability and can no longer work and earn wages at all, there is no cap on how long you can collect workers’ compensation. Keep in mind, though, that you will be required to make regular doctor visits every few weeks to prove that you are still injured. Doctor prognosis reports are required to be submitted to workers’ compensation every 45 days. If your injuries and level of disability are disputed because the insurance company no longer wants to pay the benefits you’re entitled to through workers’ comp, consider turning to a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer in NY for assistance. Kaplan Lawyers PC can be reached by calling (516) 399-2364.
Common Questions about Workers’ Comp Insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance is complex, and workers who are injured often have many questions about their eligibility, the filing process and more. Here are answers to some of the more common questions. Every work injury case is unique, though, and it can be valuable to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney for answers regarding your specific injury and claim.
Can I be denied workers’ compensation if my employer carries it?
Yes—even if your employer carries workers’ compensation, you can be denied coverage if you didn’t follow the correct steps in the claims process, such as properly reporting your injury or illness in writing within the stipulated timeframe or going to the doctor. In other cases, your employer may investigate and decide that your claim isn’t valid for some reason. They might say that your injury or illness was caused by something outside of the workplace. This can be especially true for injuries that are not caused by an obvious accident, such as stress-related injuries that occur over time. You may also be denied coverage if you are an independent contractor or other worker who is not covered under the employer’s workers’ comp coverage.
What is my recourse if I’m denied workers’ compensation benefits?
If you have followed all the applicable filing steps and instructions and are denied workers’ compensation benefits, you can file an appeal. It can be especially valuable to talk to a workers’ comp attorney when you are denied coverage. A workers’ compensation lawyer can assist you with the appeals process to help ensure the strength of your case and can advise you about other potential options if your appeal is denied. If you’re an independent contractor or other worker who was not entitled to be covered under the employer’s insurance, a workers’ comp attorney such as those at Kaplan Lawyers PC can advise you of your rights to payment for your injuries or illness.
Does workers’ comp cover only people who are injured or can I receive benefits for a work-related illness?
If you are ill and disabled because of a work-related occupational illness, you are entitled to the same benefits an injured worker would receive. According to New York law, the illness must be a natural result of the kind of job you do. For example, if you worked removing asbestos and have an asbestos-related illness. In cases of occupational illness, the timeframe for filing for workers’ compensation is the later of these two dates:
– Two years from the date of the disability
– Two years from the date the worker knew or should have known the illness was from his or her job.
What if I have suffered hearing loss at my job? Will I be covered?
People who suffer hearing loss on the job, from working around loud machinery or for other reasons, are also covered under workers’ comp. In occupational loss-of-hearing cases, there is a waiting period before you can file a claim. It is three months from the time you were removed from the noise at work that you believe caused your loss or three months after leaving the employment where the noise occurred.
If I’m injured in a workplace accident but it was my fault, can I still collect benefits?
Because workers’ comp is technically a “no-fault” system, if an accident occurs and you are injured, you should still be covered. There can be exceptions to this, however. If you were willfully negligent by being under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the accident occurred or were engaging in dangerous horseplay, you may be denied benefits. You might also be denied coverage for violating safety rules. The specifics of your particular case can influence whether an appeal is justified if you are denied coverage in the aforementioned situations, which is why it is important if you are denied to have a New York workers’ compensation attorney review your case.
Will workers’ comp still pay for my medical treatment after I return to work?
If you still require medical treatment for your work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation insurance should continue to provide coverage.
Can I be fired by my employer for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
No—you cannot be fired for filing a claim. If you believe you were, file a discrimination claim with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board office nearest you. You must file your discrimination claim within two years of the alleged discrimination. Additionally, a New York workers’ compensation lawyer from Kaplan Lawyers PC can advise you of your rights and the steps to take.
What if I can’t perform my old job because of my injury and I have to work at a lower-paying job?
If you can’t return to your original job and have to take a lower-paying job with your employer, you may be eligible to receive a “reduced earnings” benefit through workers’ compensation. If you are denied this benefit and believe it is applicable in your case, consider contacting a workers’ compensation attorney for advice.
When should I hire an attorney to help with my workers’ compensation claim?
When an injury is clearly work-related, when your claim isn’t being disputed by your employer or their insurance company, if you won’t require a lot of time off work or expensive medical treatment, then hiring an attorney may not be necessary. However, when a claim isn’t so simple and straightforward, hiring an attorney may often mean the difference between no or low workers’ comp benefits and receiving the maximum benefit possible. It can be very helpful to have an attorney assist you with your claim when …
• Several people or entities were involved in causing the accident or illness
• Your claim is denied
• Your permanent disability classification is disputed
• You are being harassed for making a claim
• A negligent third party was involved in causing your injury
• You have a pre-existing condition involving the same area of the body that was injured at work
• The insurance company is delaying surgery or another treatment that you require
• You’ll never be able to work again because of your severe work-related injuries or illness
• You’re eligible for or receiving other government benefits such as Medicare of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
If you have any question at all about whether you should hire an attorney in your particular case, consider contacting an experienced New York workers’ compensation attorney. We offer a free consultation to injured workers.
A New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Is Here To Help
Workplace injuries happen in the blink of an eye; and in addition to the physical pain they cause, they can lead to severe financial distress if you must miss weeks of work, are limited in your work or can no longer work at all. If you believe you deserve workers’ compensation benefits, don’t delay in filing a claim or seeking legal assistance. Contact Kaplan Lawyers PC by calling (516) 399-2364, especially if you…
- Think you are being shortchanged over a permanent disability. Insurance companies are in business to make money and will often seek to pay as little as they can.
- Have a complex claim. Some workers’ comp claims can be especially complicated, depending on the nature and extent of the injury or illness and the circumstances and parties involved.
- Were unfairly denied coverage of your medical bills and other associated expenses. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can review the details of your case and fight for your rights.
- Are employed by a company that does not have workers’ comp insurance. In this case, there are other options that may be available to get you fair compensation for your injuries.
- Are employed by a company that is legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but doesn’t. You may be able to file a legal claim if you are injured on the job.
- Are employed by a self-insured company which is dragging its feet in paying your claim. When workplace injuries occur due to negligence, injured employees have the right to receive fair and timely compensation.
- Believe you have a case against a third-party defendant. You may be able to receive damages through a third-party legal claim, even if you are also getting workers’ compensation benefits through your employer.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer, NY
Reach out to Kaplan Lawyers PC in NYC by calling (516) 399-2364 or by filling out our online contact form to arrange a free consultation. You pay nothing unless or until we win your case. We understand the risks caused by delay, including being denied the benefits that you deserve. Our NYC workers’ compensation attorneys are here to help you and your family in your time of need.