For a long time, workers injured on the job had little to no recourse. It was not until 1884 that the first modern workers’ compensation law appeared, in Prussia (later Germany), with the first U.S. law not being passed until 1911. With Social Security’s creation in the 1930s, workers’ compensation helped to defray costs for hospitals and gaining in popularity. Today, few who have the choice would take a job without any workers’ compensation benefits, and for those who need it, it can be lifesaving. However, the process can be very complex, and sometimes claims are denied for unethical or inappropriate reasons.
New York Workers’ Compensation Laws
The New York law was passed in 1914, creating the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) and the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). As with workers’ compensation laws in other states, employees are paid compensation in case of a work-related injury, in exchange for giving up the right to sue their employers in court for negligence. Employers still may be sued if their conduct is held to be intentionally malevolent, but if an injury results from accident or negligence, workers’ compensation is the remedy.
Sometimes there are misconceptions as to who must be covered by workers’ compensation. In New York, most employers either must associate with NYSIF or provide their own compensation coverage. The general rule is that if you are employed in a business that is trying to make a profit, even if you are not being paid, you are required to be covered. There are specific exclusions, such as New York City public school teachers (who are covered by other means), and some employees are covered by federal statutes, but on the whole, the rule applies across the board.
If you are injured on the job in New York, and you are covered, you must give your employer appropriate notice, and you must file with the WCB within two years of the accident. The notice requirement is sometimes waived if it can be shown that the employer knew of the accident within 30 days.
It is important that you are able to establish a causal relationship between your work and your injury – in other words, that work-related activity was the direct cause of your injury. This is usually done by presenting a medical report from a doctor or other qualified medical professional. It is important to remember that it is not only traumatic injuries that qualify for workers’ compensation – you can also receive benefits for what are called occupational diseases, or conditions that arise from repeated tasks or exposure to elements in the workplace. Examples of this would include mesothelioma, or repetitive stress injuries.
The amount of benefits will depend on two major things: degree of disability, and how much you make per week (benefits are paid weekly). These factors will be taken into account to come up with a figure. As one might imagine, someone with a permanently disabling injury will receive more in benefits than someone with an injury that will heal in days or months.
Get Help With The Process
Regardless of whether you have a denied claim or have not even begun to apply, it is smart to consult an attorney if you are injured on the job. The experienced professionals at the New York Lawyers are well versed in workers’ compensation law, and we can help guide you through the paperwork so you can rest easier while you recuperate. Contact us for a free consultation today.