Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. – Fighting For You
It’s an unfortunate reality for many New York businesses — despite all of the safety measures that employers and employees take, every year tens of thousands of New York workers suffer job-related illnesses or injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job or contracted an occupational illness, don’t take on the added stress of dealing with workers’ compensation claims on your own.
NEW YORK CITY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEYS THAT WILL FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS!
According to the 2015 Annual Report of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, there were 142,830 new workers’ compensation claims and 250,804 claims re-opened.
These numbers represent a 15.8% spike in pending claims since 2014.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job or contracted an occupational illness, don’t take on the added stress of dealing with workers’ compensation claims on your own. Talk to an experienced New York City workers’ compensation lawyer today.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS OVERVIEW
Nearly all employers in New York are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Under the workers’ compensation system, employers agree to pay medical expenses and lost wages for an employee’s job-related injury or illness — even if the employee is at fault for his or her injuries. In exchange, the employee agrees not to sue his or her employer in court for damages.
The cost of NY workplace injuries to New York’s economy is staggering, with millions of hours in manpower and productivity lost each year. Equally staggering are the thousands of dollars in medical payments and wage benefits that injured workers are entitled to — but fail to collect. New York employees may not understand how to collect the benefits they need, or they may be misinformed by their employers about their right to file a claim.
In other cases, workers do not realize their injury or sickness was caused by their job, or they may believe that their injury is not serious enough to merit benefits. If you’ve been injured on the job or have fallen victim to an occupational disease in New York, don’t lose the benefits that you’ve worked so hard to earn.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IS AN INSURANCE POLICY
Essentially, workers’ compensation is an insurance policy for employers, and was meant to be a system that supported injured employees. However, like all insurance carriers, they want to protect their bottom line, so their job is to deny claims. Because of this, employees often encounter significant delays and administrative hurdles as they attempt to collect benefits.
Insurance companies add to workers’ frustration by delaying, denying, and contesting valid injury claims. Of all of the claims filed in 2015, 11,186 claims were controverted, meaning the insurance carrier disputed the claim and filed medical documentation to support the dispute. Those challenges sent many of those cases to a complex hearing before a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge, where testimony, medical documents, and other evidence had to be weighed. Even NY’s own workers’ compensation officials acknowledge that the system can be stressful and far from “worker-friendly.”
If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim on your own and have had your claim disputed, it’s time to bring in New York City workers’ compensation professionals. At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C., our workers’ compensation attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need to take on the Workers’ Compensation Board.
TRUST THE NEW YORK CITY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION EXPERTS
The workers’ compensation system can be so frustrating that many employees decide not to pursue their claims. However, there is a better way to deal with those frustrations and get the compensation you deserve. In addition, please note that, even if you haven’t stopped working, we can still help you collect benefits.
You and your family deserve the full range of NY workers’ compensation benefits — and we can help you make the best possible case for your claim.
Our attorneys have extensive experience with the workers’ compensation system, and can provide you with information on:
- The types of workers’ compensation benefits that could be awarded to you and your family
- The disability categories that are used to determine your workers’ compensation award
- Occupational diseases and New York workers’ compensation claims
- Equipment manufacturers
- Frequently asked questions we hear from our clients about their workers’ compensation cases
Our workers’ compensation legal team has a proven track record of success in getting our clients the best possible outcome. If you hire Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. for your case, we guarantee that we will do everything we can to maximize your compensation, including:
- We’ll see that your workers’ compensation benefits continue even if you get a new job, move out of state, or retire.
- For certain injuries, we’ll make sure your workers’ compensation payments continue for the rest of your life.
- If you’re entitled to additional benefits, known as Schedule Loss Awards, we’ll help you collect them.
GET THE COMPENSATION YOU DESERVE
Remember that your benefits can be lost forever if you don’t file on time. If you’ve been injured on the job or have developed an occupational disease, you and your family will need the full range of benefits that are available – so act now. Choosing the New York lawyers of Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. may be the best decision you’ll ever make to secure your future.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FAQS
Workers’ compensation laws ensure that employees who are injured in the course of their employment receive the medical care they require, the payment of medical expenses, and money to cover lost wages while they are out of work. The majority of New York employers are required to pay the cost of the workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, and employees are entitled to protection beginning their first day on the job. Additionally, injuries do not necessarily have to occur at the employer’s location for an employee to be protected by workers’ compensation laws; however the employee does need to be working on behalf of the employer when the injury occurs. Workers’ compensation laws are administered by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, which is responsible for processing injury claims, verifying claims are valid, conducting hearings, and issuing monetary awards.
If you’ve been injured on the job and are concerned about whether you need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney, this is a good place to start. Without knowing the particular facts of your case, it’s impossible to say for certain whether you need an attorney to help you with your claim. We can however, give you a general idea about the types of circumstances that may point to a decent do-it-yourself outcome. These circumstances would be:
- Your work-related injury is relatively minor.
- Your employer acknowledges that the injury occurred at work.
- You didn’t miss much work as a result of the injury.
- You don’t have a pre-existing condition that was exacerbated by the new injury.
Essentially, if your work-related injury is relatively minor and you get back to work quickly without any permanent total or partial loss of use or disability, you probably do not need an attorney.
However, even if your circumstances seem relatively uncomplicated, the process can still be tricky. You may at least want to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for a free consultation. The New York workers’ compensation attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. are able to walk you through the claims process, alert you to potential snags and give you an honest opinion as to whether or not you can handle the claim on your own.
People usually do not think about Workers’ Compensation benefits until they suffer a work-related injury. Essentially, Workers’ Compensation is a program that pays benefits to employees who have been injured on the job. Employees are entitled to receive benefits for medical expenses and lost income when they are unable to return to work. In exchange for this protection, employees agree not to sue their employers – though there are several exceptions to this rule. In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits two criteria must be met:
Your Injury Must be Work Related
If your injury or illness is work related, chances are that you are covered. If, for instance, you hurt your back lifting something at work this would be considered a work-related injury. Sometimes however, the relationship between your injury and your job may not be as clear-cut. Perhaps you were hurt on your way to work, at a company-sponsored picnic, or your injury developed over the course of time. In this situation the relationship is not as clear, although workers’ compensation benefits may still be available.
You Must be Classified as an Employee
In order to qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits, you must be an employee of the company. It is important to note that not all workers are considered employees. One example of this is with private contractors. It is important to note that it is not uncommon for employers to intentionally classify a worker as a private contractor, even when they are actually an employee. Under New York Workers’ Compensation law, even if you are paid with a 1099 tax form, or “off the books”, you may still be considered an employee.
When most people think of Workers’ Compensation, they think about on-the-job accidents. This might include slip and fall injuries, injuries related to equipment or machinery, or car accidents that occur while making a delivery for your employer. While these injuries are all covered by Workers’ Compensation, Workers’ Compensation law in New York also protects against occupational diseases and repetitive stress injuries. Occupational diseases like lung disease may occur after long-term exposure to dangerous substances like silica or asbestos; also, a loss of hearing from daily exposure to loud noises in your work environment may qualify as an occupational disease. Repetitive injuries can occur when workers perform the same task day in and day out; common repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as chronic back, shoulder, or knee problems that occur from many years of doing the same job. These chronic injuries can cause a lot of pain and prevent you from doing your job.
Do not Avoid Your Doctor’s Visit
Regardless of the type of injury you have suffered, you must see a doctor who is authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board to handle Workers’ Compensation cases. He or she will document how your case is work-related and take care of filing the appropriate medical paperwork. We cannot stress enough how important it is to be honest with your medical provider about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. If your doctor does not have the full picture, he or she cannot treat your injuries properly. In addition, your medical records will become evidence in your workers’ compensation case. If you fail to disclose symptoms and later tell the doctor that you are having new pain, the insurance company may assume the new symptoms were caused by an entirely different incident— and not the one that is work-related.
Most important, if you suffer from any of the injuries we discussed above – including occupational diseases, repetitive injuries, or chronic back, knee or shoulder pain – ask your doctor if these injuries could be or are work-related. If the answer is yes, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Employers in New York are required to post a notice with Workers’ Compensation information in a conspicuous place. This notice should include contact information for the workers’ compensation insurance carrier and list the employee’s rights.
Your Well-Being Comes First
If you are injured on the job, you must notify your employer of your injury within 30 days, though we recommend you do so immediately so there is no question that your injuries are work-related. Even if you do not believe your injuries are serious, report the incident. We have seen many cases where the injuries turned out to be much more severe than originally thought. Your health comes first, so if the injury is serious, you should obtain medical help immediately and ask a co-worker, family member, or Union representative to notify your employer.
File Your Accident or Illness Report ASAP
You should also complete your employer’s written accident report as a followup to any verbal notification of your injury. Keep a copy for your records. Your employer is responsible for filing a Form C-2 with the Board; request a copy of this, too. If you belong to a Union, you should notify your Union representative immediately. In the event your claim is due to an occupational illness, notify your employer as soon as your doctor tells you your injury is likely work-related. In addition to notifying your employer, you must file a C-3 Employee’s Claim Form with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. By law, you have up to two years to file this form; however, we recommend you do so immediately to ensure your rights are protected. The form can be found online at www.wcb.ny.gov.
Gather Additional Evidence
Your injury may not appear to be severe, but it is always a good idea to collect evidence and document your injury. Many types of injuries, especially neck, back, shoulder, and knee injuries, can get progressively worse with time – not better. It is not uncommon for a person who mistakenly believes they suffered a minor injury to end up having to undergo surgery. In some cases, the injury ultimately results in the person being unable to return to work. Do not gamble with your family’s financial future. Protect yourself by filing that claim. You may wish to take photographs of the injury and the location where it occurred, write down anyone who was present and witnessed the accident (ask them for their contact information, as well), and if video is available, hold it as evidence. Write down everything you recall about the incident. You should also keep copies of all medical paperwork and related invoices showing expenses for things like prescription medications and medical equipment (crutches, wheelchair, etc.).