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Understanding New York Workers' Compensation Laws

As an employee in the state of New York, you may be eligible for insurance coverage called workers’ compensation. This is a way to provide workers who are injured on the job or become ill due to their work environment with the medical care and / or benefits they need to maintain life after the accident. The insurance is paid for by the employer and the employee should not be forced to contribute to this coverage. Workers’ compensation is the best way for an injured worker to seek benefits after an on-the-job accident.

Who is Eligible?

According to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, virtually all employers throughout the state are required to provide coverage for employees. This includes all employees working for a for-profit company whether they are part-time, full-time, leased or borrowed employees, or volunteer workers. Other eligible employees include county or municipal workers in a hazardous occupation, public school teachers (excluding New York City employed persons), state employees, domestic workers serving 40+ hours a week, and more.

Who is Not Eligible?

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board dictates that the following are not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage:

  • Sole proprietors
  • Volunteers for nonprofit organizations
  • Certain real estate salespersons serving as independent contractors
  • Certain insurance agents serving as independent contractors
  • Certain media sales representatives serving as independent contractors
  • Clergy and religious order members performing religious duties

There are other occupations in which an individual may be ineligible to receive benefits through workers’ compensation insurance coverage. It is important to discuss this with the owner of the business to determine if you are covered.

Most Common Claimant

There are claimants from all industries, but the most common often comes from construction site workers. Construction accidents are often due to overexertion, slips and falls, falling from heights, scaffolding accidents, falling debris, and electrical accidents. The construction site is full of dangers that could cause significant injury if something were to go wrong.

What Can Be Recovered?

Workers’ compensation benefits often involves cash benefits, supplemental benefits, medical benefits, Social Security benefits, death benefits, or a combination of these. Coverage can be broken down into full or partial, and permanent or temporary. It can also provide benefits if the injured worker is able to return to the job, but in a different position or occupation that doesn’t pay as much. Workers’ compensation would cover a portion of the difference for the injured worker. It can also help cover medical bills and lost wages.

Workers’ Compensation Claim vs. Lawsuit

When it comes to workers’ compensation claims, you are going through the employer’s insurance company in order to obtain benefits. Workers’ compensation coverage prevents you from filing a lawsuit against the employer. However, depending on the situation and severity of the accident and injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party such as an equipment manufacturer, negligent co-worker, or reckless supervisor. This is a third-party liability claim and can be used to help cover additional expenses that workers’ compensation may not cover.

Statute of Limitations

It is important to know that in order to file a claim within the statute of limitations, you must file for workers’ compensation benefits within two years of the date on which you informed your employer of the injury. There may be other timelines you must meet and a lawyer can help you abide by these regulations.

At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., we know how important is to make sure your rights are protected. Our New York City workers’ compensation lawyers are available to answer your questions and help you navigate the complex process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. You can count on us to help you move forward in the most effective and timely manner possible. Call us today to schedule your free case evaluation with our team.


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