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Worker’s compensation helps thousands of employees and employers in New York who are injured on the job each year. The state-issued weekly allowance is provided to make it easier to pay off medical care expenses needed by injured workers as a result of their injury. However, navigating the complexity of the worker’s comp process in New York is anything but simple.

If you or someone you know were recently injured at work and are considering applying for worker’s compensation, it’s important to know the extent of the process before moving forward. Read through this article to learn everything you need to know about worker’s comp, and how to maximize your benefits.

Guide to Workers' Compensation in New York

Jeanie Hirsch had been a home health aide for 34 years, and always put her patients first. So, it was in her nature to help when she used her own body as a to cushion an elderly woman’s fall. In the process, Jeanie tore her rotator cuff and injured her hip and leg. Her quick action kept the woman from a serious injury.

Today Jeanie can’t hang the laundry, brush her hair and is in constant pain. Looking for help was an uphill battle. “It seems the law doesn’t work for the injured worker. I feel that worker’s comp gives the defendants the right to lie under oath.” Tough words, indeed. But then she found Sobo & Sobo’s Bill Morrison. “Thanks to Bill, I have finally received my first WC check, I will get the surgery I need. I can keep my car, pay off some bills, and breathe a little,” she tells us, now.

Now at 52, she doesn’t want to change careers. And can’t imagine not helping people. Jeanie even has a new job waiting for her. If she can fully recover, she will go back to her career. But knowing that Sobo & Sobo has been successful in the fight for Worker’s Compensation benefits has given her the help she needs to get the help she needs.

5 Steps to Get Worker’s Compensation in New York

  1. Tell your supervisor or manager about the accident as close to your date of injury as possible. Don’t wait on this; hesitation can be used against you when filing a worker’s compensation claim.
  2. Make sure your medical insurance provider is authorized by the New York Worker’s Compensation board. If you are unsure if your provider is authorized, call 1-800-781-2362 to find out.
  3. Your employer is responsible for reporting the illness or injury to the New York’s Worker’s Compensation Board, or WCB. They will also need to report it to your company’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier. New York’s statute of limitations for receiving worker’s compensation is two years, so you will have exactly 24 months following the date of injury to file your claim. These deadlines were made to prevent misuse of worker’s compensation resources.
  4. Contact a lawyer that specializes in New York workermen’s compensation. This step is optional, but is highly recommended in order to minimize wait times, and maximize benefits.
  5. Fill out and file a Form C-3. This form is your official claim for worker’s compensation. This needs to be filed with the WCB within two years of the date of the accident, or the date that a medical condition started that was caused by an occupational hazard. It is imperative that you also fill out the forms correctly, as mistakes can hamper or eliminate your ability to receive proper compensation. Hiring an attorney with expertise and foresight in the field can help you fill out your form in a way that eliminates the risk of errors, and ensures you receive the maximum amount you are qualified for.

How Much Does Worker’s Compensation Pay in New York?

The answer to this question changes depending on a few variables, including:

  • The amount you were paid by your employer in the past year,
  • The severity of your disability,
  • How long your disability will keep you from returning to work,
  • And the costs of medical care needed that is directly linked to your injury

Those that are injured at work can collect from three types of worker’s compensation benefits: cash benefits, medical benefits, and supplemental benefits. The total amount you are qualified to receive from each depends on the variables above.

Amount Paid from Medical Benefits

There is no maximum regarding the amount provided by medical benefits through workmen’s compensation. Instead, the amount you receive is (ideally) equal to the costs of all medical services required for healing and rehabilitation from your injury. These costs include any tests, x-rays, MRIs, surgical operations, and even medications that are prescribed to heal your injury.

Medical providers authorized by the New York WCB will also cover pharmacy expenses such as medications that are prescribed for injury-related reasons. Fees are also to be waived by those covered by worker’s compensation. For those that require physical therapy or other rehabilitation services due to a work-related injuries, these expenses can also be covered by medical benefits.

Although this may seem straightforward, there are many cases in which injured workers do not receive the full amount necessary to recover from their injuries, and remain financially stable. If you or someone you know did not receive the full amount of medical benefits you’re qualified for, or you’re unsure, call 855-468-7672 for a free consultation with a worker’s compensation attorney.

Amount Paid from Cash Benefits

Guide to Workers' Compensation in New York

It was a day like any other at the manufacturing plant where Manuel works. At least until faulty machinery exploded behind him. Chunks of molten debris melted through his safety gear, causing severe burns and gashes across his left forearm. He suffered permanent damage to the nerves in his left hand.

“It was like the part of the safety training video that you laugh through,” he said. ”Where you’re thinking, ‘I’m not stupid enough to let that happen.’ What I learned that day was that even if you do everything right, the stupidity of your employers is always a threat that sometimes you just can’t avoid.”

Manuel passed by a Sobo & Sobo billboard every day on his way to work, so he decided to give us a call. “And I’m so glad I did,” he says, “Because the care and attention Gus [Fotopoulus] gave me throughout was so unexpected. And maybe even more importantly, he did EVERYTHING in his power to WIN and get me the compensation I deserved, against ANY obstacle.”

These benefits are available to those that are unable to work for more than seven days as a result of their injury. This is the calculation used by the New York WCB to determine the amount you can collect from cash benefits: 2/3 X your weekly salary X % of disability = your weekly benefit.

For example, if you are earning $300 per week, and your injury left you 100% disabled, you will collect $200 each week in cash benefits. If you earn $300 per week, but are only partially disabled (let’s say 75%), you will earn $150/week.

The maximum amount you can receive from cash benefits is changed every year on July 1st. The most current change allows those who file claims between July 1, 2019 – July 1, 2020 to collect up to $934.11 each week. Those that filed between July 1, 2018 – July 1, 2019 can only earn up to $904.74/week. Note that you will continue to collect the amount determined at the time in which you file your workmen’s compensation claim, even if the maximum increases while you’re still receiving cash benefits.

If your disability prevents you from working for more than 14 days, cash benefits from workmen’s comp will begin to cover you starting from your first day off from work. If you are able to return to work within 14 days, you will not be paid for the first week following your injury.

It is important to remember that medical benefits are separate from cash benefits, and will be awarded regardless of the length of your disability. Also, if you are able to return to work, but your injury is preventing you from earning the same wages you earned pre-injury, you may qualify to receive 2/3 of the deficit via cash benefits. *If this applies to you, it is recommended you call a workmen’s comp attorney, as this is a less-common type of case that requires more knowledge and expertise to successfully navigate.

Supplemental Benefits

These benefits are only available to to those that started collecting worker’s compensation before 1979, and are classified as permanently and 100% disabled. Supplemental benefits are provided in order to help those most affected by the rises in benefit maximums each year since 1979, as well as the rising costs of healthcare.

For those who qualify, the maximum amount possible to receive from supplemental benefits caps at $215 every week.

Worker’s Compensation Laws in NY: Do You Qualify?

The laws for worker’s compensation in New York are written intentionally broad, so that the majority of workplace injuries qualify for coverage by the WCB.

In order to be qualified for worker’s comp in New York, your injury or illness must have occurred during any one of the following scenarios:

  • While performing any task or operation related to your work
  • While being exposed to chemicals or toxins through the normal course of your work
  • While you were actually at your job site, or off-site but performing duties that are related to your work

Can You Get Worker’s Compensation from Cases of Negligence?

Guide to Workers' Compensation in New York

Hector Torres nearly lost his life. He was working as a fabricator for a marble & granite company. The company manufactured custom stone counter tops, some weighing over a hundred pounds. When a large slab of black granite fell off a forklift, it landed on top of him. He injured his face, his skull, left leg and ankle. He had trauma to his pelvis, hip, ribs, neck and back.

Not only was he lucky to survive an accident like this, he was lucky to find Bill Morrison, who heads up our Worker’s Comp Division. Bill won a terrific settlement for him. Even better, Hector is steadily recovering and plans to return to work. When he does go back, he won’t be the one making counter tops. He’ll be the one driving the forklift.

*These are a true stories. We have changed the names and photographs of our clients to protect their privacy.

When the WCB is considering your application for compensation, negligence is not used as a determining factor in the case. In a nutshell, this means that any mistakes made by your employer, or any failures to follow proper regulations, like OSHA regulations, won’t matter during the qualification process. You can, however, sue your employer for negligence that resulted in your injury by filing a separate lawsuit, while still collecting worker’s compensation.

If you alone are to blame for getting injured at work, you can and should still apply for compensation. The New York WCB does not determine eligibility for compensation based on who is at fault – only the fact that your injury occurred while working. This is to ensure that any worker in need of worker’s compensation will be able to get it.

Benefits of Hiring an NY Worker’s Compensation Lawyer

No one expects to be hurt at work. Even if they did, understanding the complicated and drawn-out process of a worker’s compensation application is something that most working Americans don’t have time for. It takes years of legal training and experience to successfully navigate the intricacies of applying for compensation, and obtaining a satisfying settlement.

While many workers injured on the job do know their rights and responsibilities, too many try to obtain their compensation alone. This can lead to mistakes that delay payment, and reduce the amount provided each week. Worst-case scenarios involve injured workers not receiving the compensation they deserve. This happens all the time in New York, even in apparently “open-and-shut cases.”

The thing is, insurance carriers for your employer will almost always attempt to pay as little as possible. They don’t fight for your own well being, but for your employer’s. If you’re ever injured at work, get someone that will step up to the plate for you, listen to your story, and work each day to get you compensation you deserve.

Contact a Worker’s Compensation Attorney in NYC

If you’ve recently been injured at work and are looking to make a worker’s compensation claim, contact Sobo & Sobo for a free consultation with a worker’s compensation attorney by calling 855-468-7626. Worker’s compensation attorneys are standing by to hear your story in offices across the Hudson Valley, and the Bronx. With many years of experience helping clients like you, they know what it takes to file a successful compensation claim, and get you a settlement that is worth your pain and hardship.