When Do I Need a Workers' Compensation Attorney in Manhattan?350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6705
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Workers' Compensation Attorney in Manhattan
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While not every work injury claim requires the help of a lawyer to get resolved, you may have specific circumstances that cause the process to become more complex. It may be that the injury is not easily tied to work, or the injury is severe, which may require major medical treatment or hospital stays. On-the-job injuries that result in long-term or permanent disability are usually more complicated and may require the help of a workers' compensation attorney. Manhattan has a plethora of personal injury lawyers to choose from. In fact, you're probably inundated with ads that feature lawyers claiming to have excellent results. However, not all lawyers are the same.
At Morgan & Morgan, we've been fighting for workers' rights for over three decades. We've learned a lot about how insurance companies try to minimize and deny valid claims for workplace injuries during that time. But with that experience comes knowing how to fight back and win for our clients. Here are some signs you need a workers' compensation attorney in Manhattan
Red flags that warn it's time to get a workers' compensation attorney
The insurance company or your employer denies your injury is work-related - It's human nature to try not to make a big deal of slipping and falling at work, especially if you're in a fast-paced position such as serving at a busy restaurant. You're more worried about getting orders out, and the adrenaline masks the discomfort. Yet, in the middle of the night, you're awoken by the agonizing pain of a severe sprain to your knee. You didn't report the incident right away because you decided to "walk it off," and now your employer says it didn't happen at work. You're forced to keep working, and the injury becomes even more aggravated, leading to possible permanent damage. Before you become disabled, contact us!
This kind of extended aggravation can also occur when you're exposed to poisons, as in the case of exposure to beryllium in beryllium fabrication plants. Workers are told there are safe levels of exposure. Yet, they continue to develop chronic beryllium disease (CBD), which is essentially a death sentence of slow suffocation or cancer. Doctors may diagnose these workers with asthma or other breathing-related conditions for years before coming back positive for CBD. When you feel like you may have been exposed to toxins in the workplace and are ill because of it, yet you're being denied compensation, it's time to lawyer up.
Your employer is using delaying tactics with your claim - If you're hurt on the job, ideally, you will immediately notify your employer to start the claims process. You must report your injury or illness within 30 days of the accident. Your employer should provide you with the proper paperwork and file a claim with their workers' comp insurance provider. And, that party must report the case to the NYS Workers' Compensation Board on or before the 18th day after the workplace injury or illness. Employers and insurance carriers that deviate from this defined process could face penalties up to $2,500 for late or missing reports.
Some common reasons employers delay filing a workers' comp claim range from incompetence to illegal behavior, such as:
- A lack of procedural guidelines for workers' compensation claims
- Negligent handling of the claim
- Failure to submit the proper paperwork at the right time
- Lack of internal communication between supervisors and human resource administrators
- Losing a claim form
- Deliberate delaying with the intention of frustrating the employee with the hopes they'll just drop the issue
You should know that you have rights when it comes to getting workers' compensation for your injury or illness. Attempts to deny your rights are illegal, and an experienced workers' compensation attorney in Manhattan can help you defend those rights.
You've experienced a permanent or permanent partial disability that will impact your ability to return to work - A permanent or permanent partial disability is a game-changer. It's devastating for you and your family, but it also ups the ante for the insurance company too. Since these kinds of long-term injuries are expensive, you're likely to have a more challenging time negotiating with the insurance company and navigating New York's reformed workers' compensation law that has introduced caps for compensation. However, our lawyers can guide you through this maze.
Your physician recommends treatment, and the insurance company disagrees - It's all too common for an insurance company to disagree with physician-recommended treatments and rehabilitation. When they deny a treatment plan frequently, it's simply because they feel they can and rarely face any consequences. One of our lawyers can assist in filing the paperwork required to have a judge compel them to approve physician-recommended treatment.
The insurance company flat out denies your claim - When your claim is denied, you can file for an appeal. However, here is when things can get a little rocky, and you may need expert legal guidance from a workers' compensation attorney. Manhattan workers' comp denial lawyers will assist you in filing an appeal and help determine the cause of the denial.
When the settlement offer doesn't cover your lost wages and medical bills - If you receive a settlement, that usually means you have a permanent disability. These settlements are recommended by a physician and are based upon a disability classification system in New York State. Suppose the insurance company disputes the doctor's decision. In that case, they can ask that you get an independent medical exam from a doctor of their choice. This independent exam may cause your settlement to be lowered. With the aid of our attorneys, we can persuade a judge that the original recommendation is the right choice.
You have a pre-existing condition - Pre-existing conditions almost always complicate a workers' comp claim. You may even have had another workers' comp claim for the same injury. Still, since yet another injury further aggravated the injury to the same body part, you're now in a pickle trying to prove the most recent injury caused further damage. Really only a doctor can determine what kind of impact the recent injury has on the preexisting condition.
Another problem is if the preexisting condition is not related to the workers' comp claim. For example, say you were an avid skateboarder in your youth and pulled ligaments in your knee requiring surgery. Now you're working in a warehouse requiring you to bend and pick up heavy boxes every day. The repetitive motions have aggravated the old injury. Still, the insurance company isn't taking into account the worsening of the old injury. Now is the time to seek out legal counsel to help sort this out.
You're filing for Social Security disability benefits - Social Security disability benefits, known as SSDI, will impact your workers' comp benefits. However, our lawyers will be able to assist in the structure of your settlement to maximize the value or offset losses.
Your employer is retaliating against you for filing a claim - In New York State, it is against the law for employers to retaliate or discriminate against an employee for exercising their right to file a workers' compensation claim. Typically an employer will retaliate because their insurance rates will go up. Suppose your employer has demoted you, changed your responsibilities, lowered your pay, or you've had unwarranted disciplinary actions after filing a worker's comp claim. In that case, you need the help of one of our lawyers as you may have grounds to sue for retaliation.
You have a third-party claim - Not all workplace injuries fall under the scope of a workers' comp claim. Some injuries may be the responsibility of a third party. For example, suppose you're on a new housing development construction site working as a framer. There is another crew working on the sidewalks, and the cement delivery driver recklessly backs into the house you're working on, causing you to fall and break your back. In that case, you may have a personal injury lawsuit rather than a workers' comp claim. Our personal injury lawyers are well versed in NYS personal injury law.
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What can a Morgan & Morgan attorney do for me?
When it comes to workers' comp laws and the claims process, you're still expected to comply with deadlines and hearing requests whether you understand the legal jargon or not. When you have legal representation, you don't have to worry about missing important deadlines or when to protest a notice or decision. If you miss a crucial deadline or file incorrect paperwork, it could sink your entire claim, however valid it may be.
Our lawyers will also help you prepare for a deposition and coach you on best practices for how to act before a judge and the kinds of responses they will be looking for as a claimant. Moreover, we can help you fight if your claim is denied. Even if your claim has been denied and closed, we may be able to help you reopen it and guide you on how to proceed.
Each workers' comp case is unique and may have angles you may not even realize, such as the ability to dispute the calculations or determination of the amount of compensation available for your injury or illness. You owe it to yourself to at least explore your options. Our case evaluation is free and so are our services if we're not able to win for you. Contact us today to experience the Morgan & Morgan difference firsthand. Not all law firms are the same, and we have an exceptional track record of success to prove it.