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Most New York workers who are injured on the job, develop an injury over the course of time or contract an illness that is connected to their workplace qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. These may include:
- Cash benefits if they cannot work or can only work earning less money
- Payment for medical treatment and for medications
- Possible lump sum payments if the injury causes some permanent limitation
- Notify your boss IMMEDIATELY, in writing if possible – the law requires you to notify your employer within 30 days, or you could lose benefits;
- Go to see a doctor;
- Consult with an experienced lawyer
Remember, you have a limited amount of time to start a Workers’ Compensation case, so the quicker you talk to a lawyer, the better.
It depends. If the insurance company for your job doesn’t fight the case, then you might get paid relatively fast. If they fight, it could take some time, and you will only get paid if you win.
As far how much, you first need to prove you are disabled with a medical report from your doctor. Then you might get up to 2/3 of your salary, BUT only up to the maximum set by New York State law.
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company is responsible for all reasonable and necessary treatment costs connected with your case. It doesn’t matter if it’s a visit at a doctor’s office, a long stay in a hospital, surgery, physical therapy or even devices like crutches or a wheelchair: if the court says they have to pay, then they must pay. You do not have to pay any deductibles, co-pays or any of the medical costs.
On the other hand, if you don’t tell the doctors that your injury is work related, or you never file your claim, that could lead to significant costs for you, as well as the loss of monetary benefits.
You can return to work and still get all of your medical treatment paid for. You can even get money in certain instances, and of course an award for any permanent damage is possible. You should speak with an attorney to discuss your personal circumstances.
You cannot be fired because you got hurt at work, or because you filed a claim for Workers’ Compensation. But that doesn’t mean your boss can’t replace you. Unless you have a contract with your company, or are a union member, New York gives companies a lot of latitude when it comes to discharging employees. However, if you believe you are the victim of discrimination, you can still pursue that case with the New York State Division of Human Rights.
You can’t sue your boss because you got hurt at work. That’s what Workers’ Compensation is for. But there might be other people you can sue, if they are responsible for your injuries. Plus, Workers’ Compensation remedies are very limited. They won’t pay for things like pain and suffering.
The best thing to do is to speak with your lawyer about whether you might be able to sue somebody, and what steps you should take to pursue that case.
There’s no set fee for lawyers in Workers’ Compensation cases, so it’s not like lawsuit over a car accident. But lawyers only get paid if you are entitled to money, and the judge usually sets the fee based on the work your attorney did and how much money you’re going to get. It does come out of your money, but you never pay the lawyer directly.
In thinking about whether you should hire a lawyer, remember that Workers’ Compensation involves a legal process, with a lot of forms that have terms most people don’t understand, and may require you to go to court. It can be difficult to force the insurance company to pay you, or to pay for the medical treatment you desperately need. And while hiring a lawyer doesn’t guarantee you’ll win your case, you should have a much better chance of getting benefits if you have an attorney familiar with the law and how the system works.