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.

Does it matter who is at fault?

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that even if your actions caused the injury, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. As an example, if you were not paying attention and fell at work, you would be covered. You would be entitled to payment of your medical expense and benefits to cover your lost wages. There are specific instances under which you would not receive coverage, including cases where your employer can prove you deliberately caused your injury or where the injury was caused solely by your use of drugs or alcohol.

Can I sue my employer for my injuries?

In most cases in New York, you cannot sue your employer if you are injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is what is known as an “exclusive remedy,” meaning this is the only option you have to recover for your injuries, unless someone else or some other entity other than your employer caused your injuries. If this is the case, you may sue the person or entity who caused your injuries and still collect workers’ compensation benefits. There are a few exceptions to this rule; if your employer has failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance as required by law, you have the option to file suit against your employer. In addition, if you can prove your employer deliberately caused your injuries, you may also be able to file suit against your employer to recover damages in your case.

What does it mean if my employer is self-insured?

While state law mandates that employers must provide workers’ compensation benefits, companies may choose to pay claims out of pocket instead of paying premiums to a workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This is referred to as being “self-insured.” These companies may choose to join with other businesses that wish to self-insure in order to minimize risk.

A word of caution

When you initially file a workers’ compensation claim, you will probably be contacted by an insurance adjuster or a representative from your company about your case. It is important to remember that the adjuster represents your employer’s insurance company and their interests, not yours. He or she may be very friendly and helpful, but ultimately his or her goal is to spend as little money as possible in resolving your workers’ compensation claim and to ensure that you return to work sooner rather than later.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C.

At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, we have the expertise and knowledge to help you with your workers’ compensation claim. Regardless of where you are in the process, we can inform you of the best course of action for your situation, fighting to ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve. Contact us online today or call us at 1-888-575-6410 for a consultation.