Staten Island Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Every day on Staten Island and throughout the five boroughs, New York workers sustain on-the-job injuries that cause them pain and disability, and put them out of work sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently. Some of the incidents that lead to workplace injuries reflect nothing more than bad luck; freak accidents that could not have been foreseen or prevented. Many others, however, could absolutely have been prevented, if only someone had made better decisions or had taken safer actions.
Workers’ compensation insurance companies would like you to think that you can handle filing and pursuing a workers’ compensation claim on your own. But here is the reality: most people do not have the experience or know-how to maximize their workers’ comp benefits or to investigate and pursue other sources of compensation for a workplace injury. Instead, those people virtually always benefit from hiring an experienced Staten Island workers’ compensation lawyer to help them protect their rights to benefits and compensation.
If you have sustained an injury on the job, call the Staten Island Workers’ Compensation lawyers of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today for a free case evaluation.
A Workers’ Compensation Law Practice for Staten Island Workers
No matter how or why a Staten Island worker gets injured, a workplace injury pushes the injured worker into an encounter with New York’s workers’ compensation system. The choices the worker makes when it comes to reporting and treating a workplace injury, and in pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, can have a significant impact on the amount of money the worker receives through workers’ comp benefits and from (potentially) other third party sources.
Since the early 1970s, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has committed its legal practice to helping New Yorkers and Tri-State area residents recover the compensation they need and deserve after a preventable injury disrupts their lives. A core focus of our practice, from the beginning, has been making sure that workers who sustain injuries on-the-job receive payments due to them under New York’s workers’ compensation laws, as well as from any third party who caused them harm. We’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients.
Our roots on Staten Island run deep. Attorneys in our Staten Island location, located at 26 Watchogue Road, just off of Victory Boulevard in Mid Island, live in the community they serve. The Staten Island workers injured on the job who we represent are our neighbors and fellow community members. We fight for them because we believe in taking care of our own when times are tough.
In addition, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, can draw on the resources of our sister firm, which has more than 50 years’ experience helping injured workers with workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims. You can learn more about their work at https://www.foalaw.com/.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Getting injured at work on Staten Island sets in motion a process governed by a complicated body of New York laws and regulations. Below, we give a brief overview of what the workers’ compensation system covers, and what it does not. To learn more about how the workers’ compensation system applies to your Staten Island workplace injury or illness, speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP today.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Covers Virtually All Staten Island Workers
With limited exceptions, Staten Island employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. The purpose of this insurance is to provide benefits to employees who sustain injuries or illnesses in the course of their employment activities.
The basic benefits include:
- Medical coverage for the care necessary to treat a workplace injury or illness;
- Disability benefits to replace some income lost as a result of an injury or illness that leaves a worker temporarily or permanently disabled; and
- In the case of a workplace fatality, death benefits to make up for a portion of the income lost when the worker died.
Workers’ comp insurance pays these benefits to workers no matter who was at fault for a workplace injury or illness. Even if the worker’s own careless or reckless actions caused the health condition, the worker can receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Is a Worker’s Only Recourse Against an Employer
The legal requirement that all employers carry workers’ comp insurance for the benefit of their employees comes with a trade-off. By providing workers’ comp insurance, the employer has no other legal liability to an employee who gets injured or sick on the job. In other words, employees who are covered by workers’ compensation insurance cannot sue their employers for workplace injuries or illnesses, even if the employer’s or a co-worker’s poor decisions or dangerous actions directly led to those conditions, except in rare cases of an employer causing an employee intentional harm.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Does Not Bar Workers From Suing Third Parties
Sometimes, the person or entity whose decisions or actions caused a workplace injury/illness is neither the injured worker nor the employer (or a co-worker). Instead, the injury or illness results from the actions or decisions of someone else, known as a third party. When this occurs, in addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits, the injured worker may also have the right to take legal action against the third-party for compensation. Any compensation recovered in that third party action, however, becomes subject to certain rules that may affect the amount of workers’ compensation benefits the worker receives.
The Workers’ Compensation Claim Process
Workers injured or taken ill on the job in Staten Island must follow some important steps to protect their rights to receive workers’ compensation insurance benefits and to preserve their ability (if applicable) to take legal action against a third party.
The Importance of Seeking Approved Medical Care
Perhaps the single most important step workers should take to protect their rights after sustaining an injury or illness at work is to seek appropriate medical care right away. But beware, unless a Staten Island injury requires a trip to the emergency room, workers must seek medical care from a medical professional who has been approved by the state Workers Compensation Board.
Medical services rendered by non-approved providers are not covered by workers’ comp insurance except in limited cases involving emergency care. Some employers may also have been permitted to enroll in a health care program that requires employees to use specific medical providers, diagnostic labs, and pharmacies. (Your employer will have notified you if this is the case.)
Follow all instructions your doctor gives you. Do not skip appointments, medications, or therapies. Failing to follow a doctor’s course of treatment can result in you losing workers’ comp benefits and the ability to pursue a third party claim.
The doctor who treats you for a work-related injury or illness must report the treatment to you, your employer, and the Workers’ Compensation Board. This is important paperwork. Keep it in your records, and follow up with the doctor if you do not receive it.
The Importance of Notifying Your Employer Right Away
The second, very important step injured Staten Island workers must take to ensure they receive workers’ compensation benefits they deserve is to notify their employers right away of their work-related injury or illness. The latest you can give an employer notice is 30 days after the injury, and within two years of receiving a diagnosis of a work-related illness. If you miss this deadline for notifying your employer, then you may lose your right to recover some or all workers’ compensation benefits.
The Importance of Filing a Thorough, Accurate Workers’ Compensation Claim
Staten Island workers who want to receive workers’ compensation insurance benefits should file a claim as soon as possible, and no later than two years of the injury or knowledge that an injury or illness was related to the worker’s employment. The Workers’ Compensation Board aims to make the process of filing a claim easy for workers, but workers should take care not to be deceived. There is nothing simple about applying for workers’ comp benefits.
The standard form for filing a New York workers’ comp claim requests detailed information about your health condition, the circumstances of your work-related injury or illness, the basis for your claim of partial or total disability, and your ability to return to work. How you answer these questions, and the evidence you provide to support your answers, can affect your rights to receive benefits. It is all-too-easy for an unwary Staten Island worker who is not familiar with New York workers’ compensation law to make mistakes in phrasing an answer, or in not supplying necessary information, that can lead to the claim being denied and the worker not receiving much-needed benefits.
Staten Island Workers Compensation FAQ
Dealing with a workplace injury can cause substantial challenges, including a long road to much-needed compensation. If you have suffered a workplace accident and have questions about the claims process, contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP to get the help you need. In the meantime, below is some helpful information regarding the worker’s compensation process in Staten Island.
What should I do if I suffer an injury at work on Staten Island?
Any time you suffer a workplace injury, take the following steps to ensure you protect your right to compensation.
Do not continue work when you have an injury, even what you perceive as a relatively minor injury. Continuing to work could cause you to worsen your injuries. Additionally, it could make it more difficult to establish precisely when your injury occurred, making it more difficult for you to proceed with an injury claim.
Report the incident.
Your employer may have a specific procedure for reporting any injury sustained on the job, often outlined in your employee handbook. If you do not have a specific procedure for reporting injuries, you may need to go directly to your supervisor. You may need to report even minor injuries or suspected injuries to your supervisor, who can fill out an incident report and make sure you have a clear record of when your injuries took place.
Get Necessary Medical Care
Your employer may have specific procedures to follow for non-emergency injuries, including requiring you to go first to an on-site clinic. Never hesitate to seek medical attention for any workplace injury, even an injury you suspect will remain relatively minor. The longer you wait to receive medical care, the more complex your workers’ comp claim can become, and the more difficult it may be to heal fully from your injuries.
For severe injuries, including back and neck injuries or severe lacerations, you may, in some cases, need to go straight to the emergency room. Staten Island boasts the Staten Island University Hospital, including the North and South Campus, with qualified emergency care centers.
Will workers’ comp pay my medical bills?
In most cases, workers’ comp will pay for your medical bills directly, unlike a personal injury claim. However, you may have to get approval through your state’s workers’ comp before receiving any non-emergency treatment. This process may lead to worsened injuries or a longer recovery time. If you have trouble getting needed medical treatment approved by workers’ compensation, talk to a lawyer about your specific needs and challenges.
How does a workers’ comp claim in Staten Island differ from a personal injury claim?
Workers’ comp claims and personal injury claims have several similar elements; most notably, you suffered injuries for which you may deserve compensation or assistance. However, workers’ comp claims have critical differences from personal injury claims outlined below.
With a Staten Island workers’ comp claim, it does not matter who caused your injuries.
You have the right to file a workers’ comp claim after a workplace injury suffered because of your employer’s negligence, your negligence, or the negligence of a third party. Compensation through workers’ comp happens automatically, without the need to establish that another party’s negligence caused your actions.
However, if you caused your injuries deliberately, you will not have the right to file a workers’ comp claim, and you may have to pay back any benefits you have recovered.
Workers’ comp pays your medical bills directly.
Medical bills can quickly grow out of control after a serious accident. When you need to file a personal injury claim after a serious accident, you will need to make arrangements to pay your medical bills in the meantime. On the other hand, when it comes to a workers’ comp claim, your company will pay your medical bills directly as part of your workers’ comp. That can mean a substantial decrease in stress and frustration while dealing with the accident claim process.
Workers’ compensation does not pay for pain and suffering.
As part of a personal injury claim and compensation for the financial losses you sustained in the accident, you can claim compensation for your pain and suffering. That compensation generally means having funds to help you rebuild your life, often following significant injuries. A workers’ comp claim, on the other hand, usually will not include any compensation for pain and suffering.
Workers’ comp claims will continue to pay compensation for your lost income while you recover.
In a personal injury claim, you will usually receive a single lump sum after you settle with the liable party’s insurance company. A workers’ comp claim, on the other hand, will pay out a percentage of your income in compensation for the duration of your recovery or until you reach a settlement agreement that ends those payments. Because you will continue to receive settlement payments throughout your recovery, workers’ comp may better consider factors like unexpected complications in the recovery process.
Can I file a personal injury claim and a workers’ comp claim after an accident on Staten Island?
When you suffer a serious accident at work, you may need to take a careful look at whether you have the right to file a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp is particularly beneficial since it helps you continue your income and manage your medical costs during recovery.
If you file both an injury claim and a workers’ comp claim, workers’ comp may claim a percentage of a personal injury settlement to cover the benefits you have received. A lawyer can help you maximize your benefits after a workplace injury in Staten Island and help you determine which claims will be most helpful to you.
You may need to file a personal injury claim after a workplace accident if:
You suffered injuries due to the clear negligence of a third party.
Suppose, for example, that you work as a construction worker. Your company rents equipment from a third party that you need to use during your usual job duties. While using the equipment correctly, it suffers a malfunction that seriously injures you.
On further investigation, you uncover that the rental company did not properly maintain that equipment, leading to the incident and your injuries. The failure to maintain the equipment is an instance where you may have the right to file an injury claim against that third party.
Your company committed an act of gross negligence against you.
You may have the right to file an injury claim directly against your company in some cases. You typically have the right to file an injury claim if your company has failed to provide adequate safety equipment or has pushed you to take dangerous actions as part of your job duties. If you believe your company has committed an act of negligence leading to your injuries, a lawyer can advise on your options and the proper claims to file.
When do I need a lawyer to help handle a Staten Island workers’ comp claim?
For many workplace injuries, workers’ comp claims turn out relatively straightforward. You report the injury, you receive assistance and compensation, and once you recover, you get back to work. However, under some circumstances, you may need a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve through your claim.
The insurance company denies your claim.
Sometimes, the insurance company may deny your workers’ comp claim. The insurance company may deny that you suffered the injuries you claim or suffered your injuries while at work. Failure to report a workplace injury immediately can make moving forward with a workers’ comp claim more difficult. However, if you receive a claim denial, an attorney can help establish your right to compensation.
You cannot get the treatment you need promptly.
Often, using workers’ comp insurance to cover the cost of your medical treatment can lead to unnecessary delays in the recovery process as you wait for funds to be approved. Not only can that mean a longer recovery, but it may also worsen conditions or increase the risk of complications. Prompt treatment offers the first chance to manage any conditions that arise. If you struggle with slow approvals or outright denial of treatment you need to make a full recovery, a lawyer can help you with the steps necessary to continue your process.
The insurance company disputes your disability rating.
If the insurance company disputes your disability rating based on your accident and injuries, they may deny some benefits you need to manage medical costs and rebuild your life. If you struggle with an insurance company that disputes your disability rating, a lawyer can provide essential assistance in pushing back against the insurer.
You can no longer work in your field because of your injury.
If you suffered permanent disability because of your injuries and cannot return to your previous job or field, you may need additional assistance through workers’ comp. Working with an attorney can help you understand how to maximize your benefits, particularly if the company offers a settlement.
You feel pressured to return to work before you have recovered.
Your doctor may tell you that you cannot return to work yet, but your employer or workers’ comp representative applies pressure to get you back in the office as soon as possible. If you feel pressured with threats of ending your benefits or that you may have to pay back benefits, talk to a workers’ comp attorney to make sure you fully understand your rights. An attorney can also fight to get you the support you need to get back to work, including modifications to your schedule or working environment.
What should I do if my employer denies my workers’ comp claim on Staten Island?
Your claim denial will usually come with a letter that explains the appeal process, if relevant. Read over the letter to make sure you submitted all necessary documentation and everything on your end is complete. Then, talk to a lawyer about how to proceed. Working with a lawyer can help ensure you get your claim approved and receive the support you need or help you understand why workers’ comp denied your claim.
Does workers’ comp insurance apply if I suffer an injury outside my physical workplace?
Workers’ comp usually applies when you suffer injuries while performing your usual job duties. Suppose, for example, that you work as a traveling nurse, and you trip and fall outside a patient’s home. You likely have grounds for a workers’ comp claim since you suffered your injuries on the clock while completing job duties. Likewise, if you work as a delivery driver and get into a car accident on the job, you likely have grounds for a workers’ comp claim.
Can I file a Staten Island workers’ comp claim if I suffer an injury while at work but not working?
As above, workers’ comp applies when you suffer injuries on the job. Suppose that you work at a grocery store and do your grocery shopping after work. Since you clocked out and are no longer working, you would file a personal injury claim, not a workers’ comp claim, if you suffer a slip and fall.
In some cases, however, you may have the right to file a workers’ comp claim if you suffer an injury while heading to clock in or while exiting the building after you clock out, though outside work hours.
Workplace injuries can be devastating and require expertise to conquer the complicated workers’ comp process. If you have suffered a workplace accident, contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, and let us guide you through the claims process and ensure you receive the compensation and assistance you deserve.
How Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Staten Island Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help
Most people can handle the first two steps above on their own. The third step, however, and the legal and financial considerations that come along with it, often go beyond what most people feel capable of handling without guidance. That is where the services of an experienced Staten Island workers’ compensation attorney can help.
Help Preparing a Workers’ Comp Claim
Hiring a Staten Island workers’ compensation attorney to help you prepare a claim can have significant benefits. Perhaps most immediately, an attorney can guide you through the process of compiling and presenting the information the Workers’ Compensation Board needs to see to approve your claim for benefits. By providing this guidance, the attorney can help to improve your chances of having maximum benefits approved on the first try.
Help Pursuing a Contested Claim
If you are fortunate, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will approve your claim and begin paying benefits. Sometimes, however, the carrier disputes the amount or nature of benefits you claim, and the matter ends up in a hearing before an administrative law judge. Having an attorney assist you with preparing for, attending, and participating in a hearing can mean the difference between ultimately receiving benefits and having a judge deny your claim.
Importantly, you do not pay an attorney directly for help pursuing a workers’ compensation claim at a hearing. Instead, the attorney receives a percentage of benefits secured for you, as decided by the administrative judge
Help in an Appeal of a Workers’ Comp Claim
In New York, either party can appeal the administrative judge’s decision. When that happens, the matter may go through several stages of review in which the services of an experienced attorney can prove essential. As a matter progresses, the issues standing in the way of Staten Island workers receiving the benefits they deserve tend to become more and more complicated and legally-technical. This is not a process most people can pursue successfully on their own.
Help Evaluating and Pursuing Third Party Claims
Finally, an experienced Staten Island workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate whether a third party took actions or made decisions that caused a worker’s injury or illness. While not always the case, many workers’ compensation cases, in our experience, have a third party liability component to them. Workers can pursue third parties through legal action in basically the same manner as they could in any other kind of personal injury type lawsuit.
Even so, a third party claim for damages arising out of a Staten Island workplace injury or illness still comes with potential legal complications. Any money an injured or ill worker recovers in a third-party action may affect the amount of workers’ comp benefits the worker is entitled to receive. An attorney who is unfamiliar with New York workers’ compensation law and rules can make mistakes at this stage that could prove costly, so always make sure your attorney has the experience and familiarity necessary to guide you through a third party lawsuit while also protecting your workers’ comp benefits.
Your Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Staten Island Workers
A workplace injury or illness can throw your life into turmoil. Medical complications and financial strain compound each other, making every day feel practically overwhelming. You may know you have the right to workers’ comp benefits, but the process of obtaining them—and getting the most money possible—seems about as easy as tiptoeing across a minefield. You need help.
For decades, the workers’ compensation attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have dedicated their law practice to helping Staten Island workers and their families rebound from work-related injuries and illnesses. We have the experience and resources to assist you in obtaining maximum workers’ comp benefits, and in pursuing claims against any third party who did you harm. Call our Staten Island office today at (877) 565-2993, start a live chat with us, or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
“After my accident I contacted a law firm and explained the situation. They told me about cases they’ve had in the past and the most compensation they got for clients. They made me aware that they were not interested at the time but, I could contact them in the future if anything changed. After my surgery 2 years later my wife suggested I contact an attorney. Since it happened in a different state I contacted an attorney in that state and was told the statute of limitations was up. My wife told me not to give up, that’s when I contacted Jacoby & Meyers. They were able to figure out how to proceed with the case and settled it for 15 times the amount that the original law firm had said might be possible. I highly recommend Jacoby & Meyers, they were professional and kept me informed throughout the entire process.” -Charles D.
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Jacoby & Meyers, LLP
26 Watchogue Rd Suite 1
Staten Island, NY 10314