Frekhtman & Associates represent victims of on the job accidents within New York State. If you have been injured at work, it is important to understand how Workers’ Compensation affects your rights. When someone is injured on the job, their employer must have Workers’ Compensation insurance for them. This insurance pays for lost earnings, medical bills, and other benefits.
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Under New York State Law, an employee who is injured during the course and scope of work cannot sue his or her employer because the employee will receive workers’ comp benefits including lost wages and medical bill payments. This is sometimes referred to as the Workers’ Compensation bar because workers are barred or prohibited from suing their employers. However, workers can file lawsuits against any third party responsible for their personal injuries.
For example, if John Smith is employed at a hospital and he slips on water in the hallway which was spilled by a co-worker at the hospital, he cannot sue the hospital or the co-worker because that is suing his employer which is not allowed. This type of case is called a straight workers’ compensation case because the only remedy is to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Take the same scenario but John Smith slips on water in the hallway of the hospital and breaks a bone because ABC Cleaning Company hired by the hospital was mopping the floor and left a soapy puddle of water. Now, John Smith can file for Workers’ Compensation benefits because he was injured on the job and he can also sue a third party, in this case ABC Cleaning Company for his injuries because they were negligent and he does not work for them.
When you’re hurt on the job, your first concern should be getting the treatment you need to restore your health. It isn’t long before you realize there are a number of questions outside of recovery that you need to consider: who will pay for your healthcare, what will be done about wages lost due to time missed from work, and whether you can choose your own doctor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last year 148,000 workers had an occupational injury in 2015. Here are some key areas you should be aware of when dealing with a work-related injury in New York City.
Probably one of the first questions you’ll ask is whether workers’ compensation will cover your injury. The law requires most employers in New York to carry workers’ comp insurance, with only a few rare exceptions. If your injury or illness is work-related, then workers’ comp should cover your medical care.
Workers’ compensation isn’t a fault/no-fault system. You don’t have to prove the fault of your employer, and there won’t be a reduction in your compensation if you are partly to blame for the injury. Injuries resulting from on-the-job intoxication from drugs or alcohol, however, may mean you lose your right to compensation.
If you are hurt, the most important thing to do is seek medical treatment immediately. You should notify your employer of the injury in writing as soon as you are able. Legally, the injured party must do this within 30 days, but it’s best both professionally and legally to do it as soon as possible. You will need to complete a claim for workers’ compensation Form C-3 within two years of your illness or injury – or within two years of when you learned the illness or injury was work-related.
Workers’ comp insurance should cover medical costs from your work-related injury. Your employer does not choose your doctor; you have the right, per New York law, to choose who will provide your care. Insurance also fully covers prescription medications the injured person may need to recover.
The insurance company won’t pay cash benefits for the first seven days of your disability, unless this extends beyond 14 days. In that event, the worker may receive wage replacement benefits from the first day of missed work from the injury. The wage replacement is equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage if your injury caused total disability, up to a maximum benefit for 2017-2018 of just over $870. If your injury did not cause total disability, the wage benefit decreases proportionally.
The insurance company must file a notice with the Workers’ Compensation Board within 18 days after the disability begins or within ten days of learning of learning of the accident, whichever is greater. In the event the company disputes your claim, a Workers’ Comp Law Judge will adjudicate the dispute. The law entitles you the services of an attorney to represent you in any dispute. Should you disagree with the board’s decision, you may appeal within 30 days.
Understanding the claim process is the first step to resolving your situation. The workers’ compensation insurance laws are in place to ensure that you have the proper medical treatment and coverage in the event of injury.
If you were injured on the job, it is important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer because often the scenarios are far more complex than the above example. In construction accident or Labor Law cases, an injured laborer usually cannot sue his employer but under Labor Law 240(1) and or Labor Law 241(6) the laborer can sue the landlord of the premises where the construction was ongoing as well as the general contractor for that construction job as both entities are liable by statute. There may also be a claim against subcontracting companies other than the injured worker’s employer if the facts so warrant.
If you have been injured on the job, our New York City workers’ compensation attorneys today at (866) ATTY-LAW.