Hurt on the Job?
A Comprehensive Guide for Injured New York Workers
Workplace injuries can be serious, severe, and life-changing. As a result, the time after an on-the-job accident can be confusing and scary. The Perecman Firm P.L.L.C., is here to help you through this time as you navigate life after an on-the-job injury with the help of a trusted, experienced, and tough worksite injury lawyer. If you were injured in an accident at work, you can file a workers’ compensation claim, and you may also be able to bring a third-party personal injury lawsuit against people or companies other than your employer and coworkers. Construction accidents are some of the most common types of work accidents in which workers have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit in addition to their workers’ compensation claim.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., has the experience and history of results you can count on when it comes to work accidents in New York City, especially for construction accident cases and workers’ compensation claims. We handle all aspects of legal compensation for your injuries following a work accident, including the workers’ compensation claim, lawsuits against other companies and people, and Social Security Disability (SSD). This allows us to be well-informed about all claims at the same time and maximize compensation for the injured worker in all areas. We have provided a comprehensive guide for injured workers in New York, and we are available 24/7 to take your calls if you or someone you love was hurt at work.
Immediately Following an On-the-Job Injury
Immediately after being hurt on the job, there are three steps you must take:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Unless it is an emergency, all medical care must be rendered by a health care provider that is authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board.
- Notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible but no later than 30 days following the accident.
- Complete a claim for workers’ compensation (Form C-3) and mail it to your closest Workers’ Compensation Board within two years from the date of injury, illness, or disablement. Note – if you seek legal counsel, such as the attorneys in The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., they will assist you in preparing this critical document.
Workers’ Compensation: An Overview
Workers’ Compensation is a type of insurance policy that employers pay for in order to provide their employees with cash benefits and medical care in case they are injured or become ill as a result of their job. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board processes the claims. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation benefits are comprised of payments for lost wages during the time you are out of work and medical benefits that are necessary for accident-related treatment.
An injured worker is entitled to benefits, regardless of whether or not they are at fault for causing their injuries. This means that who is to blame for your work accident or illness is irrelevant. Therefore, a worker’s benefits will not be reduced by their alleged contribution to the accident.
While fault is not a consideration in workers’ compensation claims, some workers’ compensation claims may be disputed. For example, an employer may dispute a claim if they believe the injury or illness is not work-related. The insurance carrier also has the ability to dispute the claim, and these disputes can affect the timing of when an injured worker received benefits because injured and disabled workers cannot start receiving workers’ compensation benefits until a workers’ compensation law judge decides the claim is valid. In the meantime, workers whose claims are being disputed may be able to collect money through the Disability Program.
Workers’ compensation benefits are calculated using this formula:
2/3 x average weekly wage x % of disability = weekly benefit.
There are also caps on weekly benefits based on the date of the accident.
Who Qualifies for Workers’ Comp Benefits?
According to sections two and three of New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law, just about every employer in the state of New York has to supply workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. Qualifying employees can work for non-profit or for-profit organizations, so long as they are compensated.
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board website provides a list of the types of workers that are covered by the Workers’ Compensation law:
- Workers in all employments conducted for-profit. Part-time employees, borrowed employees, leased employees, family members and volunteers working for a for-profit business must also be covered under the Workers’ Compensation Law (WCL § 3 Groups 1-14-a);
- Employees of counties and municipalities engaged in work defined by the law as “hazardous” (WCL § 3 Groups 15, 15-a and 17);
- Public school teachers, excluding those employed by New York City, and public school aides, including New York City (WCL § 3 Groups 20, 20-a and 22);
- Employees of the State of New York, including some volunteer workers (WCL § 3 Group 16);
- Domestic workers employed forty or more hours per week by the same employer, including full-time sitters or companions, and live-in maids (WCL § 3 Group 12) (see Domestic Workers)
- Farm workers whose employer paid $1,200 or more for farm labor in the preceding calendar year (WCL § 3 Group 14-b) (see Farms)
- Any other worker determined by the Board to be an employee and not specifically excluded from coverage under the WCL (WCL § 3 Groups 1-14-a and 18);
- All corporate officers if the corporation has more than two officers and/or two stockholders (WCL § 54 ) (see Corporate Officer Coverage Requirements);
- Officers of one-or-two person corporations if there are other individuals in employment. These officers may choose to exclude themselves from coverage (WCL § 54 ) (see Corporate Officer Coverage Requirements); and
- Most workers compensated by a nonprofit organization (WCL § 3 Group 18) (see Nonprofit Organizations)
Overview of the Claim Process
As previously mentioned, the first three steps to take immediately after being hurt on the job include (i) seeking medical attention, (ii) notifying your employer in writing, and (iii) filing a claim with the Board on Form C-3. There are some other time-sensitive steps in the claim process of which to be aware:
- Preliminary Medical Report – Within 48 Hours
Within two days of the accident, the treating doctor must fill out and mail in a preliminary medical report on Form Doctor’s Initial Report (C-4). The original should be mailed to the closest District Office, while copies should be sent to the worker’s employer/employer’s insurance carrier, the worker, and the worker’s representative (if there is one).
- Employer Report – Within 10 Days
Within ten days of the incident, the worker’s employer must report the injury to the Workers’ Compensation Board as well as their insurance company.
- Written Statement of Rights – Within 14 Days
Within two weeks of the accident, the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier must send a written statement of rights under the law to the injured worker.
- Payment of Benefits Begins – Within 18 Days
If the injured worker’s time off work exceeds seven days, within 18 days of receipt of Form Employer’s Report of Work-Related Injury/Illness, the insurer must begin paying the benefits, except if the claim is under dispute.
After this initial period, the insurer makes payments to the injured worker every two weeks, and the doctor submits a progress report every 45 days.
Workers’ Comp, Construction Accident Lawsuit, or Both?
Workers’ Compensation benefits are provided for nearly all on-the-job accidents. However, in some instances, an injured worker may also have the right to bring a claim against another party, other than his or her employer. These claims are also known as “third-party claims” because another party, other than the employer, may also be at fault. A third-party claim allows an injured worker to file a lawsuit against any at-fault party, other than their employer.
As mentioned above, workers injured while performing construction, renovation, demolition and other related activities often have the right to bring a third-party lawsuit against entities other than their employer. This is because of special laws that only New York has called Labor Law Sections 240(1), 241(6), and 200. These laws provide special protections to construction workers. The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., is well-versed in these laws and how they can help covered workers get the compensation they deserve. Look here for more information regarding these laws.
We at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., have a proven record in bringing and winning claims stemming from on the job injuries. When an employee suffers an on-the-job injury, whether it be due to a defective tool, condition at the place of work, motor vehicle accident, or a construction accident like a scaffold fall or ladder fall, it is necessary to consult an attorney that is experienced in the nuances between workers’ compensation and third-party liability. This is particularly true in the context of construction accidents where New York State has established special laws to protect construction workers.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., has established itself, under the leadership and hard work of founding attorney David Perecman, Esq., as being at the forefront of fighting for the rights of injured construction workers. If you or a loved one was injured on a construction site or suffered any another type of work-related injury, please contact the NY construction accident attorneys at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., to discuss the matter. Our experienced lawyers and staff will be able to determine what type of case(s) you have, whether it’s workers’ compensation claim, third-party lawsuit, or both.
Workers’ Comp Hearings and Going to Court – having a full-service legal team at your disposal is ideal
The Workers’ Compensation Board may decide to hold a hearing before a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge who will decide whether a claim is valid or not. During the hearings it may be necessary to take testimony, conduct depositions and submit proof. Since the materials, testimony and submissions are relevant to the injured worker’s claims, what occurs at a hearing could impact the worker’s personal injury lawsuit. We here at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., are ideally suited to handle these matters because we have attorneys and staff that handle both workers’ compensation claims and third-party accident cases in NY. Having the same premiere legal team represent you in both matters at the same time is ideal because it allows your attorneys to conduct the workers’ compensation proceedings with sensitivity, thought and strategic planning towards developing and maximizing both the workers’ compensation claims and the personal injury case.
Returning to Work After an On-the-Job Injury
After recovering from an injury, you may decide to return to work. Once your doctor clears you, either you or your representative should inform the Board and the insurance carrier of that decision. If you are able to perform your job duties, but in a diminished capacity, you may be paid less. If this is the case, you could apply to receive workers’ compensation benefits to make up the decreased wages, called a “reduced earnings” benefit. You may think you can perform your job duties, but upon returning to work, realize that you cannot. If this is the case, you may have the opportunity to reopen your workers’ comp claim to collect benefits. If you were injured on the job and took time off work to recover, but never filed a workers’ comp claim before returning to work, you still have two years to do so.
Many clients that we represent at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., can no longer return to work in any capacity. In fact, we also represent many families who lost loved ones in construction and workplace-related accidents. Our job is to be trial-ready and fight for compensation to make you and your family whole. Following an on-the-job injury, many injured workers fear that they will lose their home and fear that they will not be able to provide financially. We fight for injured workers and their families so that they can focus on their recovery and treatment and not be distracted by these fears.
What We Do
At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., we handle all types of construction accident claims, workers’ compensation claims, and even claims for disability benefits. Our law firm is a proud supporter of union workers, but we are passionate about representing all types of workers who have been hurt on the job. Our experienced New York City lawyers are here to walk you through the process to fight for a fair and favorable resolution. Get in touch with our firm today at (212) 577-9325.