Hempstead Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you were injured in a preventable accident at work, your life can seem turned upside down. Physical pain and financial stress from medical bills can feel overwhelming. You may have lost your ability to work, or might have to take a job that pays less than the work you did before your accident. Regardless of whether you have lost your ability to work in the future, your injury may cause you to miss days or weeks of work, compounding the financial difficulties you face.
New York workers’ compensation law ensures injured employees can receive compensation for their injuries. By law, virtually all employers in the Empire State are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance provides monetary benefits to injured workers that are intended to cover medical expenses and, in certain cases, pays cash benefits. When a worker suffers a fatal injury, his or her family can also file a workers’ compensation claim for death benefits.
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, our Hempstead personal injury lawyers are committed to making sure those injured in workplace accidents receive the compensation they deserve. We care about our Hempstead community and want it to be a safe place for all who live and work here. If you have suffered an on-the-job injury, reach out to us.
“Great experience with skilled legal individuals that know what they are doing.” -Nesha G.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Depending on the circumstances of your case—things like how serious your injury is and how long you have to miss work—you could be eligible to receive two different types of workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation medical benefits cover the costs necessary to diagnose, treat, and recover from your workplace injury from the day you suffer your injury until the day you recover. This includes costs such as ambulance transportation and emergency care, diagnostic testing (x-rays, laboratory tests, MRIs, and CT scans), surgeries, medication, medical devices such as canes or wheelchairs, therapy (physical, occupational, speech, or mental health), and rehabilitation services.
Many insurance companies require injured employees to seek care from particular providers or at specific facilities, either in a network they’ve contracted with to provide care or the State’s Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). Make sure you check with your employer/insurance company before seeking medical care for your workplace injury so that you are sure the doctor who treats you is approved.
You don’t want to go to a doctor, get the care you need, and then be left holding the bag for the cost of your treatment simply because you saw the wrong care provider. These restrictions may also apply to pharmacies under certain companies’ policies. However, if you require emergency care, there is no limitation on where and from whom you may receive medical care.
Cash Disability Benefits
Unlike medical benefits that are paid out from an employer’s workers’ compensation plan from the day a person is injured, injured workers can only receive cash benefits for the first seven days of their disability if it lasts more than 14 days.
In other words, if you suffer a broken foot, the entirety of the costs associated with seeing a doctor, getting a cast, having the cast removed and any physical therapy you need will be paid, but if you can return to work the next day, you are not entitled to any cash disability benefit. On the other hand, if you crush your hand in a machine and require emergency care, surgeries, extensive therapy and rehabilitation, AND are can’t work for weeks, your medical care will be paid for and you will receive a cash benefit for the time you can’t work.
If you are eligible to receive cash benefits, they will be subject to a weekly cap of just over $900. The amount you can collect is calculated at 2/3 of your prior year’s weekly salary multiplied by your percentage of disability. Employees who can return to work, but cannot earn their pre-injury wages, are eligible for a cash disability benefit that will pay two-thirds of the difference between their pre- and post-accident wages.
When a worker suffers a fatal work injury, that person’s spouse, minor children, or other dependents (as defined by law) are eligible under New York workers’ compensation law to receive death benefits equal to two-thirds of their deceased loved one’s average weekly wage. The amount of death benefits may not be greater than the weekly maximum that applies to cash benefits. Families may also receive compensation for funeral and burial benefits of up to $12,500 in metro New York counties.
After Your Work Injury
To ensure you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, take the following steps.
- Notify your employer. If you can, you should immediately notify your employer of your injury and the details surrounding it. This means providing the particulars surrounding where, when, and how you were injured. Although there is not a legal requirement for when you must initially tell your employer about your injury, you are required to provide written notification to your employer within 30 days. Allowing this deadline to pass without providing notification may result in the insurance company denying your claim in its entirety.
- File a claim. After injured Hempstead employees notify their employer, they should then file their claim with the New York Workers Compensation Board (“The Board”) online or via printed Form Employee Claim mailed to the Board’s centralized address. All injured New York workers must file their workers’ compensation within two years of the date that the accident occurred, or within two years of when the injured worker should have known the injury was incurred at work.
While two years may seem like a long time, as you recover from your injuries, it can pass quickly. Again, missing the deadline can have serious consequences, including your claim being completely denied. An added benefit of filing your claim early, of course, is that filing as soon as possible gives you the best chance of receiving the benefits you need as soon as possible.
After Your File Your Claim
After you file your claim, the burden is on your employer, the employer’s insurance company, and your treating healthcare provider to do things to ensure that you receive timely compensation for your injuries.
- The employer’s duties – Within 10 days of receiving the notification of your injury, your employer must report your injuries to both its insurance company and the Workers’ Compensation Board. Track your claim with your employer to ensure it reports your claim as required. Employers who fail to report their employees’ injuries within 10 days are subject to a fine from the Board of up to $2,500.
- The insurance company’s duties – Upon receipt of an employer’s report concerning an injured worker, the insurance company has to give to the employee a statement in writing describing the employee’s rights set forth under New York law. This statement must be sent to the employee within 14 days of when it receives the injury report or when it sends the worker his or her first benefit check, whichever comes earlier. The insurance company is required to begin paying cash benefits within 18 days of receipt of the injury report, and then pay them every two weeks thereafter. The insurance carrier must, within 12 weeks, consider whether or not rehabilitation treatment is necessary for the injured employee.
- The treating physician’s duties – The physician who initially treats your injuries is required to report your injury on a state-issued Doctor’s Initial Report and submit it to the appropriate Board District Office (the Manhattan office for injuries suffered in Hempstead). In addition to informing the Board, the doctor must also provide copies of the report to the employer or the employer’s insurance provider as well as the employee. Subsequently, every 45 days, the physician must submit a Form Doctor’s Progress Report detailing the patient’s recovery progress.
If the Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
Insurance companies have a vested financial interest in denying your claim—the fewer claims they pay out, the larger their bottom line. When an insurance company denies a claim, it must inform the injured employee and the Board. Whether the insurance company decides to pay or dispute the claim, it is required to inform the Board either that it has started to make payments or, if it decides not to pay, the reasons why it has chosen to not do so.
Our Hempstead Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help Injured Workers
Pursuing a New York workers’ compensation claim can be complicated and feel overwhelming. A Hempstead workers’ compensation attorney can guide you through the process.
When your employer’s insurance carrier denies your claim (which it can do for a variety of what might seem like completely ridiculous reasons), you are not without recourse. Your first step in contesting the company’s decision will usually be to request a hearing before the Board’s Claims Examiners and Conciliators to attempt to come to a resolution that is satisfactory to both parties. If either party is unsatisfied with the Examiners’ and Conciliators’ determination, it is allowed to file an appeal within 30 days of the decision.
The three members of the Board itself hears appeals and has three options—accept the decision, reject it in its entirety, or return the case to the Claims Examiners and Conciliators to reconsider their decision.
The next step for a party who does not agree with the three-member decision is to appeal to the full Workers’ Compensation Board of Commissioners. The full Board has discretion in whether or not to hear an appeal. If it decides to hear it, like the three members below, it has a specific set of options. The Commissioners may overturn the lower ruling, change it, or agree with it.
The final stop in a workers’ compensation appeal is to petition the Supreme Court of New York within 30 days of the Board’s decision.
An important thing to keep in mind is that while your case remains pending before the Board, the insurance company is relieved of its obligation to pay you benefits, unless it accepts part of a lower ruling, in which case it is required to pay only the portion of benefits related to that part of the ruling.
Do not go through the workers’ compensation hearing and appeals process without legal counsel by your side. Disputes about workers’ compensation benefits often involve complicated questions of New York law. At every stage of the appeals process, your rights depend upon following proper procedure and making thorough factual and legal presentations. It takes years of experience and a nuanced understanding of New York workers’ compensation laws and regulations to make a strong case.
After suffering an on-the-job injury, you have enough to worry about just trying to recover your health and get back to your pre-accident life. The challenges you face can feel painful and disheartening. Retaining an attorney to help you seek the benefits you deserve gives you the space you need to focus on your healing, so put your case in the hands of our experienced professionals.
Contact the Hempstead Workers’ Comp Lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, Today
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in the greater New York area for more than 40 years. We have a proven track record of successful resolution of complex workers’ compensation disputes. If you have suffered an injury at work, then our experienced attorneys have the skill and know-how to help you pursue the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve and that New York law demands.
Our team can help with every stage of the workers’ comp claim process—from filing an initial claim to pursuing an appeal (if necessary). In addition, a sister firm of ours can provide their knowledge and resources when necessary. That law firm has amassed more than a half-century of experience recovering workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits for injured workers like you. At https://www.foalaw.com/, you can leanr more about them and see how they can help us help you.
Do not wait to speak with an experienced New York workers’ compensation attorney. If you were injured at work, call Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Hempstead office today at (516) 542-0931, open a live, confidential chat with us, or contact us online for your free case evaluation.