WHEN SHOULD I FILE MY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM?
- Workers’ Compensation Law requires that you file a claim within two years of your accident date or within two years of when you knew, or should have known, that your injuries or occupational disease are work related.
- If you have an accident at work, we recommend that you tell your employer right away, even if you do not need to miss any time from work as a result of the accident. The requirement that you file a claim within two years is different from the requirement that you give 30 days notice to your employer.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST WAGES WHILE I AM OUT OF WORK DUE TO MY INJURIES?
- Usually your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will be responsible to pay you lost wages while you remain out of work because of your injuries. The maximum amount the carrier is required to pay you for lost time is 2/3 of your average weekly wage. The rate at which you are paid directly correlates to your average weekly wage and your degree of disability.
- Some employers and/or union contracts allow for you to receive your full salary, to be paid directly by the employer, while you remain out of work. These employers tend to be New York City Transit Authority or other self-insured state or city employers. To confirm whether you are eligible for your full salary, you must reach out to your payroll department and/or union.
- If your employer uses your sick or vacation time to pay you while you remain out of work, your employer may be entitled to reimbursement and you are entitled to have your time restored.
CAN I FILE FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IF I DID NOT SUSTAIN A DISCRETE ACCIDENT WITH A SPECIFIC DATE OF INJURY?
- A majority of Workers’ Compensation claims are for accidents that occurr on a specific date, however these are not the only type of claims. If you develop injuries over time, with no specific accident, as a result of your work, then you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.
- If you develop a condition, or occupational disease, as a result of your job, you may also qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. For example, you may have a hearing loss claim if you work in an extremely loud environment.
AM I SUING MY EMPLOYER WHEN I FILE A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM?
- No. A claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits is not a lawsuit against your employer. A Workers’ Compensation claim is simply ensuring that your lost wages and medical treatment, stemming from a work accident, are paid for by your employer’s insurance carrier.
- Depending on the nature of your accident, you may have a lawsuit against another party that is not your employer. This type of claim would be a personal injury lawsuit where there is another responsible party, who is neither your employer or a co-worker.
WHO PAYS THE ATTORNEYS’ FEES IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS?
- Injured workers should never pay a Workers’ Compensation lawyer directly for an attorney fee. Any fee that a Workers’ Compensation lawyer is awarded comes from awards that they obtain on your behalf. That award is deducted from your check and sent directly to your lawyer from the insurance carrier. Generally speaking, attorneys’ fees are usually 15% of money moving to you, whether that be after a hearing or at the end of your case once a settlement is reached.
WILL I BE COMPENSATED FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING?
- The primary purpose of Workers’ Compensation claims is to cover your lost wages and your medical treatment relating to the work accident. If permanent injuries occur as a result of your work accident, you may be entitled to a lump sum award depending on several factors, including your average weekly wage, injured body parts, and lost time/work status. Settlement and awards are case specific and should never be compared to another person’s Workers’ Compensation case/award.
DO I HAVE TO BE A UNITED STATES CITIZEN OR A PERMANENT RESIDENT TO FILE A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM?
- You do not need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Even employees who are paid off the books can file a Workers’ Compensation claim.