New York State Workers Compensation Law

Whether you live in one of the five boroughs, Western New York, Upstate, Westchester, Long Island, or elsewhere, as a worker in the state of New York, you have certain rights. If you suffer a job-related injury or illness, you may be eligible to recover part of your lost earnings and other benefits through the state’s workers’ compensation program. Here’s what you need to know about workers’ compensation laws in New York.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance designed to protect employees who get hurt or sick on the job by providing them with partial wage replacement and other benefits. In New York state, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, with a handful of exceptions:

  • The business is owned by one person who has no full- or part-time employees, leased employees, borrowed employees, unpaid volunteers, or subcontractors.
  • The business is a partnership with no employees, based on the above specifications.
  • The business is a one- or two-person corporation with no additional employees, and the owners own the entirety of the company’s stock and hold all offices.

What Are Disability Benefits?

Employees who suffer an injury or illness as a direct result of their job may be entitled to disability benefits such as:

  • Temporary Total Disability: If your doctor determines that you’re 100% disabled but only temporarily, you may collect two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a cap set by the state.
  • Temporary Partial Disability: If you haven’t returned to work but have a disability level below 100% or you’re able to return to work but at a lower income than before, you may receive temporary partial disability benefits. In the former situation, you’ll receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage multiplied by your disability percentage. In the latter, you’ll get two-thirds of the difference between your pre- and post-injury wages.
  • Permanent Total Disability: Once you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (or MMI, the point at which your condition won’t improve any further), you’ll undergo an evaluation to see if you have permanent limitations. If so, you may be entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly wage for the duration of your disability.
  • Permanent Partial Disability: New York awards permanent partial disability in three ways, depending on which body parts are affected.
    • Scheduled Loss-of-Use Awards: If you permanently lose your eyesight, hearing, or use of an upper or lower extremity, you may receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage for a set number of weeks, based on the state schedule, times the percentage of lost use.
    • Nonscheduled Loss-of-Use Awards: If you suffer from a permanent disability to your spine, head, or another body part not listed in the state schedule, you may receive two-thirds of the difference between your pre- and post-injury wages for a set number of weeks, based on a legal formula.
    • Disfigurement: If a workplace injury has left you permanently disfigured in the face, head, or neck, you may be awarded up to $20,000.

What Else Is Covered?

New York workers may also be eligible for additional benefits, including:

  • All reasonable and necessary medical treatments
  • Mileage reimbursement for travel to and from medical appointments
  • Vocational rehabilitation to learn a new skill
  • Death benefits for the surviving spouse, children, and other dependents of a deceased worker

Contact Morgan & Morgan

While New York state law regarding workers’ compensation might appear clear-cut, oftentimes employers and their insurance companies go out of their way to prevent employees from collecting the benefits they deserve. A workers’ compensation attorney at Morgan & Morgan can help you collect the benefits you are owed. Find out more by scheduling a free case evaluation now.

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