Being injured on the job, or suffering from an illness caused by the nature of one’s work, can create a host of strains and setbacks for victims and their loved ones – whether they’re physical, financial, or emotional in nature. In many cases, the consequences of a workplace injury can be long-term, if not life-long.
Given the significant challenges injured workers face as medical bills begin to pile up, their lost income starts to stretch them thin, and they and their families struggle to cope with what can be profoundly psychologically harmful experiences, securing full and fair compensation becomes absolutely vital.
At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., our NYC injury attorneys know the challenges injured workers and families face in these situations because we’ve been fighting on their behalves since 1983. Naturally, we also know those challenges make them more concerned with how they should go about seeking the compensation they need, and how much that compensation will ultimately be.
It Depends: Why Unique Factors Drive Case Value
It must be mentioned that the only reliable answer which can be given to injured workers inquiring about the value of their claim, especially in the early stages and without a personalized case review and investigation from experienced injury lawyers, is: it depends.
As with most matters of the law, the amount of compensation you’ll be entitled to receive following a workplace accident or occupational disease depends on many different factors – from those largely out of your control, like the nature and severity of your injury, to those you may be able to fight for in your best interests, such as finding the best path toward compensation, and working with an experienced attorney to navigate that pathway toward the maximum compensation possible.
Workers’ Comp: Your Rights After a Work-Related Injury
Most workers who suffer injuries or illnesses arising from job-related duties are entitled to workers’ compensation, a form of no-fault insurance most employers must carry by law. With workers’ comp, you can receive benefits for needed medical treatment, supplementation for lost wages and disabilities, and things like vocational rehabilitation. Unlike a normal lawsuit for negligence, you cannot collect money for pain and suffering in a worker’s compensation claim. However, since it is no-fault coverage, workers’ comp provides benefits no matter who caused the accident and injury, provided workers:
- Suffered injuries in the course of performing job-related duties;
- Worked full or part-time as an employee, rather than a freelancer or contractor;
- Notified their employer about the accident within 30 days;
- File a workers’ comp claim within 2 years of an accident;
- Obtain the necessary evidence and medical reports supporting claims that injuries or illnesses are related to their work and the extent to which they disable a worker.
The amount of workers’ compensation you’ll be able to recover in your case, again, depends on factors unique to your situation. Generally, the biggest factors will be:
- How much you were paid prior to your injury; and
- The nature and severity of your injury or illness (i.e. your disability rating).
While you can’t typically control or argue what you were paid at the time of your injury (though you sometimes might), there is greater opportunity for ensuring accurate and favorable disability ratings, which are critical to ultimate benefit awards. That’s because injured workers in New York who can’t work for more than 7 days are eligible to recover 2/3 of their average weekly wages (from previous year) x their disability percentage. For example:
- If you were making $600 a week and have a 100% disability rating, you’d be eligible to receive $400 a week in wage benefits.
- If your disability rating was “partial,” such as 50%, you’d be entitled to $200.
In cases where work injuries prevent you from earning the same wages you did prior to your accident – such as when you have to take a different job because you can’t do what you did before – you may be able to recover reduced earnings benefits, which help make up 2/3 of the difference. Workers’ compensation law does cap the maximum weekly cash benefits injured workers can receive. As of July 2018 and through June 30, 2019, that cap is $904.74. The cap is adjusted annually for inflation.
Exploring Options to Maximize Compensation
Because the ultimate recovery made in any work accident case is so critical to the lives and livelihoods of victims and their families, our firm is committed to helping clients explore all their available options for maximizing compensation. That may include:
- Fighting for accurate and more favorable disability ratings;
- Ensuring average weekly wages accurately reflect what workers were paid;
- Working with medical experts to support claims of total / partial disabilities;
- Pursuing third-party civil personal injury lawsuits against at-fault defendants whose negligence, violations, or wrongful conduct caused workers harm.
Third-party personal injury lawsuits can be one way to potentially increase available compensation. That’s because they are civil claims, rather than insurance claims handled through a tightly regulated system, and because they allow for a more robust recovery of a victim’s damages. Apart from past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and other economic damages, that includes pain and suffering, and emotional and “non-economic” injuries, which aren’t available through workers’ comp. Our team can help you explore whether you might have this option by reviewing and investigating your case.
Often, these civil injury lawsuits are filed against negligent property owners, third-party contractors (such as in construction accidents), manufacturers of defective products or equipment, and other parties that may have caused or contributed to a preventable worker injury.
Request a Free Review of Your Case: Call (212) 577-9325
Speaking with experienced attorneys like those at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. is the most effective way to better understand the amount of compensation you may be able to recover after a workplace accident, whether that’s through workers’ compensation, or a personal injury lawsuit. Our firm focuses solely on these two areas of law, and have helped injured workers and families recover millions of dollars in compensation and benefits throughout the years. We also have a proven record in construction accident cases, recovered over 50 verdicts and settlements exceeding $1 million dollars each in the last 7 years alone.
Call (212) 577-9325or contact us online to discuss your case, rights, and options with a lawyer. The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. serves clients across all NYC boroughs and the state of New York.