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Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Most people assume that employers will take all precautions to ensure that their employees are safe and working within a low-risk workplace. When employers fail to do this, it can lead to serious injuries. Suffering serious injuries due to an avoidable situation at work can be incredibly frustrating, and you deserve justice if this occurs. If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident, you should reach out to experienced Brooklyn workers’ compensation lawyers right away. They can help you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. If for some reason your employer tries to make things more difficult than they should, a lawyer can also help you with this aspect of the process. Morgan & Morgan has been handling workers’ compensation claims for decades, and we would be happy to assist you. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free consultation.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance payout received by employees who are injured at work, assuming the employer they are working for has worker’s compensation insurance. It provides compensation for medical expenses that are incurred due to the injury you sustained at work. You may also be entitled to compensation based on lost wages or lost earning capacity. If you are injured and file a claim for these benefits, you cannot be fired in the meantime. Workers’ compensation also helps the employer, as it precludes civil claims against them from the injured employee.
In a workers’ compensation claim, there is no fault determined against the employee or employer. The insurance payout is simply based on whether the employer has workers’ compensation insurance and if the type of injury and how it occurred qualifies for benefits.
Who Is Covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
In New York state, all for-profit businesses that employ others are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. All workers are covered, including part-time employees. If an employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance and fails to do so, they can be fined or even barred from conducting their business activity if they fail to remedy the situation.
Brooklyn Workers’ Compensation Process
If you were injured at work, it’s important to know what to do next. Understanding the process will help ensure that you receive the benefits you’re entitled to.
The first thing you should do after sustaining an injury at work is notify your employer. You are required to report the incident within 30 days, but it’s always best to do it as soon as possible. You will have 2 years to file the actual claim. Even if you don’t think your injuries are severe at the time, it’s important to report them anyway. If you don’t, you are taking away your right to collect benefits should the injury worsen in the future.
Once you’ve reported your injuries to your employer, it’s time to file the actual workers’ compensation claim with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. You can do this online, mail in a paper form, or walk into the local office. Make sure you file your claim within the 2-year deadline or you will be precluded from obtaining any benefits, even if you otherwise would have been entitled to receive them.
You will want to seek medical attention as well. If it’s an emergency, you can do this right away and make the report to your supervisor or employer later. This is an important part of the process, as you will need to show what expenses you incur and provide documentation showing why you cannot work for a period of time if that’s the case.
Your employer also has certain responsibilities once you report your injuries to them. They have 10 days to report your injury to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board and their insurance company. Make sure you follow up with your employer to ensure that this has been done. If your employer fails to do this, you can file a complaint with the Workers’ Compensation Board and your employer can be fined up to $1,000 for their first act of noncompliance and up to $2,500 for a second violation.
After your employer’s insurance company receives the report, they must provide a written description to the injured employee regarding their rights under workers’ compensation laws. If it is determined that you are eligible for cash payments as well as medical expenses, the insurance company must provide these payments to you within 18 days, and must inform you that these payments are going to be made.
Types of Benefits
If you were injured on the job, you’re probably wondering what types of benefits and compensation you’re entitled to from workers’ compensation. In New York, the following benefits are available:
Temporary Disability Benefits
If you need more than 7 days off work because of your injuries, you can receive cash benefits to help replace some of your lost wages. The amount you will receive depends on your average weekly income for the prior year, as well as the extent of your injuries. Your doctor will provide a percentage of disability between 0 and 100 percent, and your payments will be based on that percentage.
Total Temporary Disability
If your doctor determines that you are 100 percent disabled temporarily, you will receive 2/3 of your average weekly income, with a maximum amount depending on the date of your injury. For example, if you are injured between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, the maximum payment you can receive is $1,125.46 per week.
Partial Temporary Disability
You are entitled to partial temporary disability benefits while recovering from your injuries if you cannot return to your previous job but can do some level of work that provides less income than you were previously earning. You are entitled to 2/3 of the difference between the average weekly income of your previous job and the average weekly income of your current position, with the same maximum weekly payments as stated above.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
If it is determined that your injuries are not going to improve further, even with continued medical care, your doctor will determine whether your injury has left you with permanent limitations. If your doctor determines that you are 100 percent disabled, you will receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage as long as you are disabled.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
In New York, there are 3 different ways that permanent partial disability benefits are awarded. The first way is scheduled loss-of-use awards, which are payments scheduled based on an employee’s loss of use of certain parts of their body, such as the eyes, ears, and parts of the upper and lower limbs. If you have lost the use of one of these body parts permanently, you will receive 2/3 of your weekly average income (up to the maximum) for a specified period of time.
The second way these types of benefits are provided is through non-scheduled awards. If you have a permanent disability to your spine, head, or organs, but are still able to do some work, you are entitled to two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury average weekly wage and your current earning capacity.
The third type of permanent partial disability benefit is for disfigurement. If your injury has left you with permanent and serious disfigurement to your face, head, or neck, you may be entitled to an additional $20,000 if a workers’ compensation judge determines that this disfigurement could hurt your earning capacity.
What type of benefits you’re entitled to and the period of time you’re entitled to them can be quite confusing. Even if you think your claim is straightforward, it’s always a good idea to contact experienced Brooklyn workers’ compensation lawyers to ensure you’re getting everything you are entitled to. You don’t want to leave money on the table because of a simple mistake.
What if My Claim Is Denied?
In some cases, the insurance company will deny your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Whatever the reason is, you have the right to appeal this decision. The first step in the appeals process is a review of the decision by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board Examiners and Conciliators. If the decision remains unchanged, you can have a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge. If the judge’s decision is to uphold the denial, you have 30 days to appeal that decision. At this point, three members of the New York Workers’ Compensation Board will review the judge’s decision. In some cases, the appeal will go before the full New York Workers’ Compensation Board.
If your claim is denied, you should contact a lawyer right away. They can help you with the process and make sure you have the best chance at success. While a lawyer isn’t required, this is an incredibly important decision, as a denial will leave you with no benefits. Hiring an attorney costs money, but it’s better to receive benefits and have to pay a lawyer than to receive no benefits at all.
How to Prepare for a Hearing
If your claim is denied and it is going to be heard on appeal, it’s important that you know how to prepare. A lawyer will certainly help you with this, but there are steps you can take that will be very helpful in your hearing.
- Gather Evidence. One of the first steps you can take is to gather as much relevant evidence as possible regarding your work injury. This typically includes medical expenses you have incurred, records and notes from all previous medical appointments, any contact you’ve had with doctors and the insurance company, and anything else you think might help bolster your case.
- Consult With Your Lawyer. Before speaking with anyone or providing any evidence at the hearing, you should speak with your lawyer. Provide them with the evidence you’ve gathered so they can be as prepared as possible to help you get the benefits you’re entitled to.
- Continue With Treatment. It’s important that you follow through with any treatment plan that you’ve been given by a medical professional. If they’ve prescribed medication, continue to take it. If they told you to go to physical therapy, keep doing it. This should all be done even after your claim is denied and before you have your hearing. It will be important for your recovery, but it will also be important for your case.
Morgan & Morgan Is Here to Help
If you suffered an injury at work and need help obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, or if you need help with an appeal or simply want more information, the attorneys at Morgan & Morgan can help. We understand how devastating and stressful it is to be unable to work and earn money for yourself and your family. We will do everything in our power to ensure you get the compensation and the justice you deserve. When you hire Morgan & Morgan, you are hiring a firm that cares about your case as much as you do. We want to handle the legal aspects of your case every step of the way so that you and your family can focus on the emotional aspect and plan for the future. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free consultation.