If you suffer a workplace injury, will you be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits? Keep reading to learn who qualifies for workers’ comp in New York, who doesn’t, and why injured workers may need the help of a Bronx workers’ compensation attorney.
A job-related injury can pose a threat to your health, bring disruption to your life, make your future uncertain, and eat away at your resources. What do you need to know if you’re injured at work in New York?
The workers’ compensation system provides benefits to employees who are injured on the job or who become ill because of their work. Workers’ comp is paid for by employers and regulated by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.
Who May Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Unless you already know for sure that you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, ask your employer if you are covered.
The following employees must be covered under New York State law:
1. all paid employees of non-profits
2. all corporate officers if a corporation has more than two officers or two stockholders
3. county and municipal employees who engage in work defined by the law as “hazardous”
4. domestic employees who work forty or more hours a week for the same employer, including live-in maids and full-time sitters and companions
5. agricultural workers
6. all full- and part-time workers, leased and borrowed employees, volunteers and family members who work for a for-profit business
7. officers of one-or-two person corporations if the corporation employs other workers (although these officers may exclude themselves from coverage)
8. public school teachers, except for those employed by New York City, and public school aides, including those employed by New York City
9. State of New York employees, including some volunteer workers
10. all other workers determined by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to be employees and not specifically excluded by law from coverage
Volunteer ambulance workers and volunteer firefighters are not covered by workers’ compensation. They are provided benefits for injuries or death suffered in the line of duty under the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law and the Volunteer Ambulance Workers’ Benefit Law.
How Is “Employee” Defined In New York State Law?
As you can see, almost every New York employer must offer workers’ comp coverage to employees. But who is and is not a legal employee, a contractor, or a volunteer? When workers’ comp benefits are at stake, the legal definition of “employee” is a question that gets complicated.
Most independent contractors, and most people who volunteer without pay for non-profit, religious, or educational organizations, have no workers’ comp coverage or entitlement. Independent contractors may, however, purchase their own workers’ compensation insurance.
In New York, independent contractors do not qualify for workers’ comp, and employers are not required to purchase coverage for them. The legal determination about who is an employee or a contractor is not made by employers but by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.
New York Covers More Workers Than Most Other States
Thus, it’s possible that some workers who might be considered contractors in other states will be deemed employees in New York.
For example, someone hired to paint buildings by a painting company and someone hired to drive a truck by a trucking company may be considered employees since their services are an integral part of the operations of these companies.
If you’re injured at work in New York, you should have the advice of a good Bronx personal injury attorney – first. You may qualify for workers’ compensation without knowing it, but even if you do not qualify, you might have other legal options for obtaining compensation.
What Do You Have To Prove To Obtain Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
When a qualified applicant files a workers’ compensation claim, he or she must prove only that the injury happened at work or the illness happened because of the work. Injured workers do not have to prove that anyone was negligent. It is more like filing an insurance claim than a lawsuit.
The best strategy is to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you’ve been hurt. Your attorney will review the particulars of your claim, verify that you are eligible for workers’ comp benefits, and see to it that nothing in your application will cause any unnecessary delays.
What Other Steps Should You Take If You’re Injured At Work?
With that in mind, these are the additional measures that you should take if you are injured at work:
1. Have a comprehensive medical examination immediately, even if you do not feel ill or injured. A latent or hard-to-detect injury that is ignored or overlooked could quickly develop into a critical medical condition.
2. You must submit an injury report in writing to your employer within thirty days, or you can lose your right to workers’ compensation. If your claim is for an occupational illness or disease, a report must be submitted within two years of the onset of the condition.
3. Ask your lawyer to help you file for workers’ comp. See your attorney and file the claim as soon as possible.
What Happens If Your Claim Is Denied?
When workers’ comp claims are rejected, injured workers may believe that they are being unfairly treated, and they might be correct. Some workers’ compensation insurance companies exploit any loophole or technicality that allows a claim to be denied.
If your claim for workers’ comp benefits is denied, the right workers’ compensation attorney can appeal that denial on your behalf. Benefits that are initially denied are frequently granted at an appeal hearing.
What Else Should You Know About Workplace Injuries?
If any party apart from your employer and your co-workers had any responsibility for your accident and injury, you may also seek compensation by filing a “third-party” personal injury claim. Your workers’ comp attorney can explain how third-party personal injury claims work.
On-the-job injuries can be devastating. Catastrophic injuries – spinal cord and brain injuries, for instance – may require life-long medical care, but lesser injuries can also keep you away from work for weeks and sometimes for months.
If you’re injured at work, you will need compensation, and you’ll require the help of a good Bronx workers’ compensation attorney. If you’re hurt on the job in New York, it’s imperative to contact the right lawyer and begin seeking compensation immediately.