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Work Related Injuries in Shirley

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Accidents in the workplace are more common than most realize. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were a total of about 140,000 workplace injuries in New York in 2022 (the latest year for which statistics are available). While the rate of workplace injuries in New York is lower than the national average, even one workplace injury is too many. Workers who are injured on the job in Shirley may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which can help ease the financial burden of physical recovery, and our Shirley work injury lawyers can help. 

“Workplace Accidents” Defined 

Workers’ compensation benefits are available to workers who suffer workplace accidents. But what counts as a “workplace accident”? Generally, an accident is considered to be work-related when it arises out of or in connection with the worker’s work duties. For example, this definition would include a forklift operator who is injured when his forklift rolls over. It does not include injuries sustained outside of work, injuries sustained while a worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or injuries sustained while the worker was engaged in prohibited horseplay. It also generally excludes injuries sustained while commuting to or from work, although certain exceptions apply, such as when the worker was driving a company car or running a special errand for their employer when the accident occurred. 

Qualifying for Workers Compensation Benefits 

Almost all workers in Shirley are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. As we’ve covered, the prerequisite for workers’ compensation eligibility is to suffer a workplace injury. The next step is to be an employee whose employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which encompasses the vast majority of employers. At a high level, the following types of workers are eligible for workers compensation benefits: 

Most workers will fit into one or more of the above categories, but there are a few notable exceptions. The following types of workers are not eligible to claim workers’ compensation benefits: 

  • Independent contractors
  • Volunteers
  • Sole proprietors 
  • Members of the clergy
  • Police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers, and public school teachers  in New York City 
  • Teachers at non-profit schools
  • Partnerships, LLCs, and LLPs with no employees
  • One- or two-person corporations where those people are corporate officers and own all of the corporation’s stock 

Even if you fall into an excluded category, you may still qualify for workers compensation benefits if you can show that you were misclassified by your employer. Speak to a  Shirley work injury lawyer for more information about this. 

The Three Types of Workers Compensation Benefits 

Injured workers whose workers’ compensation claims are successful are entitled to three types of benefits: 

Cash Benefits 

Cash benefits replace a portion of an injured worker’s wages while they are out of work recovering from their injuries. In New York, the formula for calculating workers’ compensation cash benefits is average weekly wage x % of disability = weekly cash benefit. An employee’s average weekly wage is the average of the employee’s gross earnings for the 52 weeks preceding the accident. So, for example, assume that an injured worker’s average weekly wage is $1,100 and their accident renders them 40% disabled. Their weekly cash benefit would be roughly $293. 

Medical Benefits 

Workers compensation insurance pays for the full cost of all necessary medical treatment, including emergency room services, surgery, follow-up visits, prescription medications, and medical devices like wheelchairs and canes. To receive this benefit, the worker must choose a provider who is authorized by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. You can use the Board’s online tool to find an authorized provider of your choice. 

Death Benefits 

Unfortunately, not all injured workers survive their injuries. In such cases, workers’ compensation insurance provides death benefits (also known as survivor benefits) to the decedent’s surviving spouse, minor children, and other dependents. The amount of death benefits is two thirds of the decedent’s average weekly wage for the 52 weeks prior to the date of the injury. Funeral expenses (up to $12,500 in Shirley) are also covered by workers’ compensation death benefits.

How to Start the Workers Compensation Claims Process Works 

Both injured workers and their employers (and their employers’ insurance companies) must adhere to a strict schedule when pursuing and processing workers’ compensation claims. The first step of this process, of course, is for the injured worker to seek immediate medical treatment (if necessary). The worker must then notify their employer of the incident within 30 days. The next step for the worker is to file a claim with the workers’ compensation board within two years of the accident (although our Shirley work injury lawyers recommend not waiting that long). At that point, the ball shifts into the employer’s court. 

Can You Sue Your Employer for Damages if You Claim Workers Compensation? 

It’s natural for injured workers to want to sue their employers after workplace accidents, particularly if they believe the employer was at fault for the accident. However, workers who are eligible for workers’ compensation are barred from pursuing civil claims against their employers in most instances. That’s because the workers’ compensation program is a no-fault scheme; workers are entitled to benefits even if they were at fault for their injuries. While an injured worker likely could obtain more in a damages award than in workers’ compensation, they would also be required to prove fault by the employer, which can be tricky. That being said, workers may still pursue civil actions against third parties who were potentially at fault for the accident that led to the worker’s injuries. 

File a Workers’ Compensation Claim With Help From a Shirley Work Injury Lawyer 

The workers’ compensation claims process is filled with pitfalls for the unwary. To maximize your benefits, you should consider working with an attorney who has experience handling these types of claims. To get started, please contact a Shirley work injury lawyer at Turley, Redmond & Rosasco by using our online form or by calling us at 631-582-3700 (Ronkonkoma) or 631-399-0400 (Shirley/Riverhead).

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