Injured workers in New York City face many challenges on their path to recovery. Expensive medical bills, lost income, and the possibility of a long-term disability can wreak havoc on workers and their families. The last thing someone in this situation needs is the bureaucratic nightmare of a New York workers’ compensation claim.
If you recently suffered a job-related injury, the New York City workers’ compensation lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP can help. For over 20 years, our workers’ comp attorneys in New York have helped people like you through this difficult time. We know the struggles injured workers face after an accident and the roadblocks you face in claiming workers’ comp benefits. We’ll handle all the paperwork for your claim and deal with your employer while you treat your injuries. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides a financial safety net for injured workers in New York. It provides certain benefits meant to help injured workers pay their bills and get the treatment they need to quickly return to work.
One key thing to note about workers’ compensation is that you don’t have to prove someone else caused your injuries to claim your benefits. In exchange for not having to prove fault, injured workers give up their right to sue their employer after an accident (in most circumstances). Employers still have the right to contest an employee’s claim, which can lead to legal disputes. Working with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer is your best bet to recover the benefits you need after an accident.
Who Qualifies for Workers’ Comp in New York?
According to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, “virtually all” employers must provide workers’ comp insurance for their employees. Unlike many states, New York requires employers to provide workers’ comp benefits to independent contractors in many fields. This includes many workers in the construction and trucking industries, among others.
Another important fact to know is that if you qualify for benefits, they apply from your first day at work. You don’t have to wait for these benefits to kick in, despite what some employers might say. Furthermore, employers sometimes misclassify employees as contractors to avoid paying for workers’ comp, even if the worker is eligible under state law. Your job duties determine whether you qualify for workers’ comp, not your job title. Talk to an attorney if you have questions about your eligibility for workers’ comp benefits.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Comp Provide in New York?
The amount of a workers’ comp claim depends on the extent of your injuries, your pre-injury income, and other factors. However, workers’ comp benefits provide many different kinds of support to injured workers. The benefits include:
- Medical Care: Workers’ comp covers all reasonable, medically necessary treatments related to your injury that are provided by healthcare providers authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board. This includes the cost of doctor visits, medication, and surgeries.
- Wage Replacement: If an injury leaves you completely or partially unable to work while you heal, you can receive a portion of your lost wages. Wage-replacement benefits are calculated on the basis of your average weekly wage and your degree of disability, up to certain limits under New York law.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: These benefits provide financial support and training if you need to learn new skills or switch jobs due to your injury.
- Permanent Partial Disability: If your injury leaves you with long-term limitations but you can still work in some capacity, this benefit can help make up for your loss in earning potential.
- Permanent Total Disability: For those unable to return to any kind of work due to their injuries, this wage loss benefit offers ongoing financial support for life.
- Death Benefits: If someone dies from a work-related injury, these benefits provide financial assistance to their dependents. An amount is provided for funeral expenses, too.
When You Need a New York Workers’ Comp Attorney
While we advise anyone injured at work to hire an attorney for help with their claim, minor injuries don’t necessarily require a lawyer. However, there are certain situations where working with a workers’ comp lawyer is crucial to obtaining the benefits you need. Those scenarios include:
- Your claim gets denied, and you’re unsure what to do next.
- You don’t get your benefits promptly, leaving you in a financial bind.
- The compensation offered doesn’t cover all your medical bills or lost wages.
- Your employer disputes the claim, suggesting the injury didn’t happen at work.
- You have a pre-existing condition, and the insurance company is using it to deny your claim.
- You have difficulty getting the medical treatment you need for your recovery.
- Your employer pressures you to return to work before you’re medically ready.
- You want to appeal a decision made by the Workers’ Compensation Board.
- You have concerns about retaliation from your employer for filing a workers’ comp claim.
Common Workplace Accidents and Injuries in New York
In general, the type of injury or accident doesn’t matter in a workers’ comp claim. All that matters is whether the injury occurred at work while you were performing job-related tasks. That said, some common workplace injuries and accidents in New York include:
- Slips, Trips, and Falls: These can occur anywhere, from wet floors in a cafeteria to tripping over wires in an office. Falls often lead to sprains, fractures, or even more severe injuries.
- Falls from Heights: Particularly common in construction, these accidents can happen when working on scaffolding, ladders, or roofs.
- Struck by Object: In many work settings, falling tools, flying debris, or moving machinery can strike workers. These accidents can cause a range of injuries, from bruises to catastrophic head injuries.
- Overexertion: Lifting, pushing, or carrying heavy objects can cause overexertion injuries. These include muscle strains, back injuries, and joint damage.
- Repetitive Strain Injuries: Performing the same motions over and over, like typing or assembly line work, can lead to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
- Machinery Accidents: Getting caught in or struck by machinery is especially risky in industrial settings, potentially leading to severe injuries.
- Exposure to Harmful Substances: Workers in certain fields may be exposed to chemicals, toxins, or hazardous materials, resulting in illnesses or skin conditions.
- Vehicle Accidents: For those who drive as part of their job, traffic accidents pose a significant risk, leading to a wide range of potential injuries.
The Workers’ Comp Claim Process in New York
The workers’ comp claim process starts when you report your injury to your employer. Do this in writing to make sure you have a record of the report. Crucially, you need to report the injury to your employer within 30 days to protect your right to workers’ comp benefits. Make sure to seek medical treatment immediately with an approved caregiver, or you might run into trouble with your claim.
Once you report your injury and start medical treatment, you or your lawyer can submit Form C-3 to the state Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). You’ll want to include any relevant medical records and other evidence with your claim. Your New York workers’ comp lawyer can gather these records and submit your claim on your behalf.
After you file your claim with the WCB, your employer will evaluate your claim. If they accept the claim, you should receive your benefits within a few days or weeks. If your employer rejects your claim or limits your benefits, you can appeal their decision. A workers’ comp attorney can help you with an appeal and gather additional evidence to support your claim.
Key Deadlines in a New York Workers’ Compensation Claim
One reason to hire an attorney for help with a workers’ comp claim is that you must meet certain deadlines. Some of the key deadlines in New York workers’ compensation claims include:
- You must report your injury or illness to your employer within 30 days of discovering it.
- Your employer has ten days from when you report your injury to inform their insurance company about the incident.
You must submit a workers’ comp claim to the WCB within two years of the injury to claim your benefits.
How Our New York City Workers’ Comp Lawyers Can Help You
We know dealing with a workers’ comp claim in New York City can be overwhelming. Here’s how we can help you with your case:
- Filing Your Claim: We can take care of filing the initial claim paperwork and gathering evidence to support your case. That way, you don’t have to worry about meeting critical deadlines.
- Maximizing Your Benefits: We work tirelessly to make sure you receive all the benefits you qualify for.
- Handling Disputes and Denials: If your employer disputes or denies your claim, we can present strong evidence and compelling legal arguments to secure your benefits.
- Medical Care and Treatment: We can help you get the medical attention you need by connecting you with approved healthcare professionals who understand workplace injuries.
- Settlement Negotiations: When it’s time to discuss a workers’ comp settlement, we can negotiate a deal that reflects the true value of your claim.
- Legal Representation at Hearings: If your case goes before the WBC, we can advocate for your best interests at every step.
- Protecting Against Retaliation: We’ll safeguard your rights and make sure your employer respects your decision to file a claim.
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we’re more than just your lawyers; we’re your partners in your journey toward healing and returning to work. We’re committed to getting you the support and compensation you need to move forward after a workplace injury. Call us today or reach out online for a free consultation.