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Q. What Should I Do If I Was Injured At Work?
A. First, get immediate medical attention. Depending on how bad the accident is, you should go to a doctor, clinic or emergency room right away. If you are badly hurt, have someone call an ambulance. Once you have been medically treated and are in stable condition, it is important to call a personal injury attorney to learn about your legal rights as they pertain to being injured at work. If you were hurt on the job, there is a good chance that you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You must report the accident to your supervisor as soon as possible and request that an accident report be completed. Please note that there is a certain statute of limitations (time limit) to notify your employer of your injury and to file a claim. A personal injury lawyer can help you through this process.
Q. How long do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim?
A. According to New York State law, if you were injured at work, you have 30 days from the date of the accident to report your injury to your place of employment. If you then decide to move forward and file a workers’ compensation claim, you must do so within two years. The two years takes into account the date of the accident and also the date of your last payment from work. Whichever of these two dates comes later (the date of the accident or the date of your last payment from work) will be the date from which you have up to two years to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires.
Q. What Benefits Am I Entitled To?
A. You will be entitled to have all of your accident-related medical bills paid by your employer’s insurance carrier. If you are totally or partially disabled and unable to work for more than seven days, you may receive cash benefits. The amount that you would receive is based on your average weekly wages, and is calculated by the following formula:
2/3 of your average weekly wage multiplied by the percentage of your disability=weekly benefit
For example, if you earned $500 per week, and you were completely (100%) disabled, you would receive $333.33. If you were partially disabled (50%), you would receive $166.67.
Q. If my employer’s insurance carrier has already paid me for my lost time wages and covered my medical expenses, am I still entitled to benefits?
A. Yes. You may be entitled to a cash award called a Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) if you permanently injured an extremity (fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, legs, eyes, or ears.)
Q. What is a Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) award?
A. It is a monetary award that may be made to a worker who has injured an extremity and has been determined by a physician to have reached maximum medical improvement. The physician will then determine whether the injured worker has limited use of their extremity and then assign a percentage of limitation. The higher your percentage of limitation, the more money you are likely to receive.
Q. Who will pay my medical bills?
A. Your employer’s insurance company is responsible for paying for all your necessary medical treatment that is associated with your workplace injury. This coverage includes hospitals, doctors, MRI’s, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and other charges associated with the treatment of your injury. There are no deductibles or co-pays required from you.
Q. If I am injured at work, can I choose the doctor that I would like to see?
A. Most of the time you are able to choose which doctor to see for your recovery.
Q. What if I am unable to return to work at all, or I returned to work, but I am now making less money because of my injury?
A. In this case, you may be entitled to an award for either a Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) or a Permanent Total Disability (PTD.)
A Permanent Partial Disability is an award determined when a treating physician determines that an injured worker is permanently disabled from their job, but not totally disabled from working any job. A Permanent Partial Disability entitles the injured worker to receive weekly benefits for a fixed time period.
A Permanent Total Disability occurs when a physician determines that an injured worker is disabled from working any job and entitles the injured worker to weekly benefits for the rest of their life. The higher the level of disability, the more money a person is likely to receive.
Q. What should I do if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?
A. Occasionally, a workers’ compensation claim is denied upon the first application. However, if you feel that your claim was wrongfully denied, you can file an appeal with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. Your lawyer can help you with this process.
Q. What is a workers’ compensation hearing?
A. In the process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits, your claim might go to a hearing in front of the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. These hearings are sometimes required to settle discrepancies that arise during the claims process. This could be a disagreement about a claimant’s eligibility for benefits or a dispute over their average weekly wage.
A hearing could also be required if you appeal a workers’ compensation claim that was denied.
Q. Is workers’ compensation a lawsuit against my employer?
A. No. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides replacement for wages and also provides medical benefits to employees who were injured on the job. A workers’ compensation claim is a claim made against your employer’s insurance company (not against your employer.) People who receive money from workers’ compensation give up their right to sue their employer for negligence.
Q. Can I be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
A. No. In New York State, an employer can’t fire you because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. However, if you are not able to return to your job, your employer may hire someone else to replace your position, if it is necessary for business reasons. If you feel that you were fired or the your employer retaliated against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, your attorney can help you fight for your legal rights in this matter.
Please call the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Jason B. Kessler at 914-220-1088 for a free evaluation of your case.