Understanding Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance. It provides financial help for people who get injured while at work. The compensation you get for workplace injuries is guaranteed by law. In exchange for receiving it, you give up your right to file a separate negligence suit against your employer. However, you do not give up your right to seek help from an attorney when disputes arise.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation disputes are not uncommon. Reasons for these disagreements vary from case to case. For example, your employer may question whether or not your claimed injury is actually work-related. Your employer may also deny that an injury occurred in the first place.
In these circumstances, experienced legal assistance is a necessity. The experts at Shulman & Hill know every trick employers may use to dispute a workers’ compensation claim. In even the most complex cases, we’ll help ensure that your rights are protected and you receive just payment for your claims.
Workers’ Compensation Laws in New York State
For the vast majority of the American workforce, there is no federal standard for workers’ compensation. Instead, each state establishes its own set of standards. New York compensation laws have certain features not found in all states.
For example, state law mandates that workers’ compensation claims are not limited to injuries that occur during a specific workplace accident. You can also file a claim if you develop long-term health problems as a result of your job. Common examples of such problems include hearing loss and chronic, lung-related diseases. Read about diagnosing occupational disease.
In New York, most employers purchase workers’ compensation coverage for their employees through insurance companies. Only insurance companies authorized by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board can provide this service. As an alternative to purchasing insurance, some employers provide their own compensation coverage.
Regardless of how your workplace provides coverage, one thing is clear. In no circumstances can an employer charge you for workers’ compensation insurance. Instead, employers must bear the cost themselves.
To pursue your compensation claims in the State of New York, your attorneys must understand every last detail of relevant state law. They must also keep track of all new developments as the law changes. Trust Shulman & Hill to put our deep knowledge of all New York guidelines to work on your behalf.
The American Institute of Legal Counsel awards attorneys who have achieved unparalleled success but most importantly have done so for the benefit of their client.
Membership in this list is extended to attorneys who have gone through extensive vetting and who have reached the top of their profession while keeping their clients’ interest top of mind.
Attorney Alex Shulman has been added to the Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyers list, a highly selective and rigorous association of top trial lawyers in the country.
Shulman & Hill recognized by the American Academy of Attorneys.
Attorney Alex Shulman has been selected to the list of New York Super Lawyers since 2007. Only 5% of attorneys in each state receive this honor.
American Institute of Legal Counsel
This award is for attorneys who have achieved unparalleled success, but most importantly who have done so for the benefit of their client.
Attorney and Practice
Shulman & Hill receives the Attorney and Practice Magazine’s Top 10 Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Award
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 were 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 two-thirds 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 leave 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 my injuries on a specific date?
- A majority of workers’ compensation claims are for accidents that occur 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 nor a coworker.
Who pays the attorneys’ fees in workers’ compensation claims?
Injured workers should never pay an attorney fee directly to a workers’ compensation lawyer. Any fee that a workers’ compensation lawyer is awarded comes from awards 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 about 15% of the money coming 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.
Is workers’ compensation the same as disability insurance?
No. Disability insurance is a private arrangement you can make to replace the income you lose due to injuries. If you get hurt, it will provide payment no matter where or when your injury occurred. In contrast, workers’ compensation is employer-provided insurance that only covers injuries related to your job.
Can my employer penalize me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
No. Your employer has no right to penalize you in any way for filing your claim. Such illegal penalties may include firing you, cutting back your hours or harassing you in the workplace. Employers who take these actions can face significant criminal or civil charges.
Are there circumstances in which I can’t be compensated for a workplace injury?
Yes. As a general rule, you can’t receive workers’ compensation for your injuries if you:
- Sustained those injuries during an altercation that you started
- Were intoxicated at the time your injury occurred
- Got hurt on purpose in order to file a claim
There may also be other circumstances in which your employer can legitimately deny your claim.