If you’re injured while working in New York state, workers’ compensation will likely cover the costs you’ll incur. You will, however, need to prove that your accident is work-related. That’s especially true if you work for a company that might want to contest its obligations in your case.
Your best bet is to hire a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of workers’ compensation claims to act on your behalf to secure your rightful workers’ compensation benefits. But before you get to that step, you can take some actions to show that your accident was work-related.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
As the New York Workers’ Compensation Board notes, workers’ compensation is a form of insurance, providing money and/or medical care for those who are either injured or become sick as a direct result of performing work for their employer.
Employers cover the costs of workers’ compensation insurance and are not allowed to pass those costs on to their employees. In many cases, workers’ compensation is paid without incident to those injured while doing their job duties or who become ill because of something they were exposed to at their jobs. However, some employers and their insurance companies will contest workers’ claims.
The Workers’ Compensation Board is a state agency that oversees the compensation employees can receive through workers’ compensation benefits. That includes the amount of workers’ compensation an employee should receive or whether a worker qualifies for benefits based on facts about the accident.
For example, if a worker gets injured because they were intoxicated on the job or while trying to harm someone else, that person is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under New York state law.
Filing a Claim
The first step in proving your accident is work-related is to report it to your employer. It’s best for your claim if you submit an accident report on the same day you were injured. Tell your supervisor about the injury, and report the accident in writing to your human resources department.
Once a worker is injured on the job, they have 30 days to notify their employer. After the 30-day window passes, according to the Workers’ Compensation Board, an employee could lose rights to workers’ compensation benefits. The worker should file Form C-3 with the state as soon as possible, though legally, the worker has up to two years to do so.
Form C-3 requires some basic information:
- Your employer’s name and address
- Your gross wages (before taxes) per pay period
- Names and addresses of other employers you worked for at the time of the incident
- The name and address of the doctor or hospital providing your initial treatment
From there, use eCase, the Board’s electronic case folder, to check the status of your claim.
Proving Your Accident Occurred During the Course of Your Job
After making your claim with your employer and the state, you can take additional steps to prove you did get sick or hurt on the job.
- Record all relevant details. When you file a claim, you should record everything you can recall about the incident. If the injury happened during your lunch break, you might still be covered under workers’ compensation rules. If you were taking your lunch break at your workstation or at a lunch for business reasons, the Board might rule in your favor even if your employer contends lunch is “off the clock.”
- Find witnesses. If anyone saw the accident, that’s your claim’s best situation. Obtain a written or video statement from each witness as soon as possible after the accident. That evidence could prove pivotal should the case go before the Workers’ Compensation Board.
- Check for security footage. If your injury happened in a place where your employer has security cameras, you should note that when you file. While it might not be possible for you to get the footage yourself, the Workers’ Compensation Board can request it from your employer if it knows it might exist.
- Medical records. As the Board rules on your case, knowing the extent of your treatment, its cost, and which providers you’ve seen about your injury or illness will help immensely.
What Else Should I Do?
While waiting for your ruling, staying off social media is best. A post showing you are active and healthy could undermine your claim that you’re not.
And, to make sure you have the best possible outcome for your case, contact the New York work-related injury attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057. We have the know-how to prove your accident was related to your job. Our lawyers have decades of experience with workers’ compensation cases and could help you secure the benefits you deserve.