Practically all US workers know about workers’ compensation insurance, but very few make successful claims and get the benefits they deserve after being injured on the job. That’s partially because workers’ compensation laws are complex and dense. It’s not always easy to know whether you qualify for workers’ compensation after sustaining an injury or illness.
Read on to find out if you qualify for workers’ compensation insurance. We’ll also break down why hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer can strengthen your legal case and ensure that you get the benefits you deserve so that you can focus on what’s important: getting better.
To learn more about the money and benefits you may be entitled to, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at (516) 342-2200.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a standard type of insurance that covers workers if they are injured or become ill while on the job or due to work-related duties. In a nutshell, if you are injured at work or in the course of your duties, your employer’s workers’ compensation provider will pay for your medical bills either entirely or up to a certain amount.
New York State requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance by default. Many employers attempt to downplay or dismiss workers’ compensation claims to save money despite this legal requirement. When employers pay workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses, their premiums go up, costing them money.
Many injured workers depend on workers’ compensation payouts to cover their medical expenses and provide for their families if they can’t return to work. Workers’ compensation lawyers can help employees get the payouts they deserve, even if an employer tries to dismiss their claims.
When Do You Qualify for Workers’ Comp?
Although workers’ compensation covers workplace injuries in a broad sense, only certain types of injuries qualify. Many employees aren’t sure whether they qualify for workers’ comp, which may delay them from filing for benefits.
You’re an Employee of a Company
Firstly, a worker has to be a direct employee of a company or organization. The employee injured at work cannot usually be a contractor, freelancer, or some other third party.
For example, suppose a welder is hurt at work and is employed directly by a welding company. In that case, the welding company should be required to provide workers’ compensation benefits to that worker.
However, if a contracted professional comes to inspect a welding site at the same company, and they are injured while in the workplace, they may not be covered by workers’ compensation. Nevertheless, that contractor could still file a different type of lawsuit.
Your Injury Is Work-Related
Next, a worker may only qualify for workers’ compensation if the injury is work-related. For instance, if a retail store stocker hurts their back while lifting a heavy chair or some other product and needssurgery, they could be covered under workers’ compensation. The same goes for an employee who may have been injured using machinery at work.
But if that same worker clocks out for their shift, then trips and falls on the way home, they will likely not be covered under NYS workers’ compensation law because the injury wasn’t sustained in the normal course of their duties.” In some cases, it can be tough to determine whether an injury or illness is sustained during regular workplace duties.
For instance, what if a worker is told to work remotely due to COVID-19 concerns? In this case, the employee may be covered under workers’ compensation if they are clocked in and can prove that they were performing workplace duties while working from home or remotely.
A workers’ compensation law firm can help you determine whether you are covered under workers’ compensation insurance or if you should pursue alternative legal paths. To learn more, please call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at (516) 342-2200 for your free consultation.
You Have Medical Proof of the Injury
There’s one other aspect of workers’ compensation that many employees miss: to qualify for workers’ compensation coverage, you must get medical records of the personal injury by visiting a doctor.
More specifically, you have to visit a physician authorized by the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board. These medical experts can document the symptoms and severity of your injury or illness, point out how it might be work-related, and fill out the necessary medical paperwork. The paperwork will break down the injury, its symptoms, and what medical treatment was necessary for the injured employee.
This information is incredibly important to a successful workers’ compensation case. Without medical proof of your at-work injury, it can be difficult (if not impossible) for you to secure a workers’ compensation settlement.
Remember: Your employer’s workers’ compensation provider is not on your side. It’s in their best interest to save money by not giving you the payout you deserve. Because of this, you will want to legally tilt the odds in your favor as much as possible.
Types of Injuries That Qualify for Workers’ Comp Coverage
Many workers can be confused about whether they should file for worker’s comp based on their injury types. Let’s take a closer look at the kinds of injuries that should qualify you for workers’ compensation coverage.
Workplace Accident Injuries
Workplace accident injuries are usually covered under workers’ compensation. Workplace accidents include any employee accident that occurs at work and/or over the course of carrying out regular duties. This definition is purposefully broad, as it is meant to allow workers to receive compensation for almost any accidental injury suffered while on the clock.
For example, if you slip and fall while at work and sprain your wrist, under New York State law, you will be covered by workers’ compensation. This is true even if you slipped accidentally and while not doing a specific workplace duty or task.
However, many employers or insurance companies will try to downplay claims from workplace accidents. Don’t let them do this! Instead, hire legal professionals to represent you and prove that your accident is covered under workers’ comp. You can do this now by calling Schwartzapfel Lawyers at (516) 342-2200 and speaking with one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys.
Illnesses Acquired at Work
Similarly, any illnesses you acquire while at work or due to your work duties may be covered under workers’ compensation. For example, if you are exposed to harmful chemicals during your normal workplace duties and then acquire an illness several weeks, months, or even years later, your medical bills for that illness could be covered under workers’ comp.
This is often true even if you fail to wear safety gear appropriately and/or do not take all recommended precautions. You may also be covered if you acquire a long-term disease years after exposure to chemicals, toxins, or other hazardous matter.
In New York State, an injury doesn’t have to result in immediate disability or pain to be covered under workers’ comp. Chronic injuries or conditions you sustain from your duties over time may also be covered.
Imagine a manual worker who performs the same physical motions repeatedly each day. Over several years, they sustain muscle or bone tissue damage to the knee, resulting in constant pain and/or disability. Under NYS workers’ comp law, their medical bills andother damages such as pain and suffering could be covered.
Workers’ Comp Lawyers Can Help
As you can see, workers’ comp law is incredibly complex. As such, it can tough to know when exactly you qualify for workers’ comp and whether your injuries will be covered fully or partially. That’s where an experienced workers’ comp lawyers can come in handy.
Workers’ comp attorneys know the ins and outs of New York workers’ compensation law and can help you:
- Gather the evidence you need to prove that your injuries or illnesses were acquired at work
- Stand up to insurance companies and ensure that you file your compensation claim on time
- Present evidence persuasively to maximize your compensation payout
Navigating the complexities of the workers’ compensation system can be daunting alone, especially if you are injured or suffering from a chronic illness because of your workplace accident.
Awell-trained and highly skilled workers’ compensation attorney can ensure that you receive the benefits you need to pay your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and even help you recover lost wages resulting from your injury or illness.
Alternatively, a workers’ comp attorney can assist you in filing your workers’ comp claim, schedule you forindependent medical examinations, and protect you from the possibility of a claim denial due to technicalities. Depending on your previous earnings and your injury, you may even qualify for permanent disability benefits.
To learn more, reach out to Schwartzapfel Lawyers now by calling (516) 342-2200.
There’s no need to go through the complicated and confusing legal process of submitting a workers’ comp claim alone. Schwartzapfel Lawyers is an experienced workers’ compensation law firm that will have your back when you file your claim, when you negotiate with the insurance company, and when you confront your employer in court.
And please, don’t worry about fees whatsoever. Unless we win your case, we won’t charge you a dime. Contact us today at (516) 342-2200for a free consultation. If we can assist you in any way, it will be our honor and privilege to do just that.