Understanding the WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW
Am I entitled to benefits?
What if I lose days from work?
Who will pay my medical bills?
How do I file a claim?
How do I get medical treatment?
Do I need a lawyer?
Can I get a lump sum cash award?
• Lump Sum Settlements
• Trauma Injuries
• Occupational Diseases
• Back & Neck
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• All Phases of Trials
The Workers' Compensation Law (WCL)
assists individuals who are injured from work related accidents or
occupational diseases. The WCL provides injured workers with cash
benefits (to replace lost salary) and medical coverage. The WCL does not
consider the issue of fault. It is important that the injured employee
report the injury and be treated by a doctor as soon as possible.
every worker or employee in New York State is covered under the law.
Many independently paid workers or contractors (e.g. taxi drivers or
employees of construction sub- contractors) are also covered.
Filing A Claim:
The law requires the employee to notify
the employer in writing within 30 days of the work related injury. The
employee should state how and when the accident occurred. Even a minor
accident should be reported because it can develop into a more serious
injury. The employee should also be treated by a doctor within 30 days
of the accident. It is crucial that the doctor carefully describe an
accurate history of the accident in their records. The WCL provides that
any facts written in a medical report are presumed to be true. Initial
medical reports play a crucial role in establishing a claim.
Employer must forward an accident report to its compensation insurance
company within 10 days of the accident and benefits are supposed to be
paid 14 days thereafter. If benefits are not paid, a claim for
compensation must be filed with the Workers' Compensation Board within
two (2) years of the accident. An Employee can file a claim directly
with the Board by filing a C-3 form. The Board issues an index claim
number and notifies the employer and insurance company to begin to
process the claim. The insurance company will also issue its own claim
The employee's doctor should
completely fill out a C-4 form and forward it to the insurance company
and the Worker's Compensation Board. The doctor lists his billing on the
C-4. You must inform your doctor of all the parts of your body that
were injured. The doctors who completely fill out their reports will
have their bills paid more promptly. You should keep a list of the dates
of visits made to your doctors, and any prescriptions you paid. You are
entitled to reimbursement for travel and medication expenses.
Compensation cash benefits are payable
at 66.6%, of the workers average weekly salary, with a maximum cap
currently of $600 per week. These benefits are tax free. If an employee
stays out of work for an extended period, the insurance company may
attempt to reduce or terminate benefits. A Compensation Hearing is
required in order to restore benefits. If a worker dies due to a work
related injury, benefits are paid to the widow and children. An injured
worker is entitled to compensation for days they missed from work. If
the injury is extensive and prolonged the worker is entitled to a
For injuries involving permanent
partial loss of use of arms, legs, (i.e. fractures, carpal tunnel) or
loss of vision, hearing, or facial scars, the worker is entitled to a
lump sum schedule loss award according to statute. In this type of
award, it does not matter how many days of work are lost - a cash award
may be granted even if you return to work. For example, my office
obtained a $25,000 cash award for a Con Edison worker who suffered a
fractured hand and missed only one day of work.
The compensation insurance company
pays the cost of medical services. The doctor is not supposed to
collect a fee from the worker unless the claim is denied by the Board.
An injured worker is free to choose their own physician or chiropractor.
It is preferable to see a private doctor Coded by the Board rather than
an employer HMO or City Hospital. Private health insurance companies
are entitled to be reimbursed for any treatment they pay for.
The Board authorizes the payment for medical services to doctors in the overwhelming majority of cases.
The Compensation Law also covers
diseases and repetitive stress injuries that develop as a natural
result of one's job such as exposure to fumes, asbestosis, chemicals,
key board operations, latex allergies, lead poisoning, repetitive
trauma, carpal tunnel syndrome.
|Pre- Existing Injuries:
An accident that aggravates a
dormant pre-existing injury is covered by Compensation. When an old
Compensation injury worsens or is aggravated, the worker can normally
reopen their closed cases (within 18 years). Also, when a work related
injury causes another injury, this can be claimed as a consequential
injury. (e.g. serious leg injury can cause an abnormal walking which in
turn can lead to lower back pain injury)
The worker does not have to pay a
legal fee unless benefits are awarded. The legal fee is set and
approved by the Board. It is very advisable that an injured employee
retain a lawyer whose practice is concentrated in the area of Workers'
Compensation law. A lawyer will be able to explain to you all your
rights and enable you to get all the benefits to which you are entitled.
The Insurance Companies have many lawyers representing them. You will
normally get a larger award when represented. A lawyer can assist your
doctors in getting their bills paid, and request for a Hearing to be
held. The lawyer is crucial in obtaining information required by the
Workers' Compensation Board to prosecute your claim.
It is a serious violation of law
for an employer to not have workers' compensation insurance coverage for
its employees. Injured employees are still able to receive cash
benefits and medical care from a Special Fund created by the State.