Living on Long Island affords a unique quality of life, and there are many quality employers in the area. But, like all areas, working on Long Island can also be dangerous. Many local residents find themselves suffering from disabling job-related injuries each year. If you work on Long Island and are recovering from an injury, here is what you need to know about protecting your legal rights.
Popularized by a variety of TV shows and movies, Long Island has become a tourist destination for individuals and families worldwide. But, many full-time residents live here as well. In fact, with a population of over 7.65 million, Long Island would be the 13th largest state on its own. This means that there are many jobs in the area, and local residents work in all types of occupations.
No matter what you do for work in Long Island, there is a chance that you will get injured on the job. There is also a chance that you will get injured at home and be unable to go to work as a result. If this happens, what can you do? Are you eligible for benefits? What are your legal rights if your claim for benefits is denied? We’ll explain everything you need to know.
Top Employers and Occupations on Long Island
Top Employers and Industry Sectors on Long Island
Each year, Newsday releases its list of the top workplaces on Long Island. While there are occasional changes in the rankings, the companies on the list largely stay the same from year to year, and the same industry sectors are typically represented each year as well. Ranked by workforce size, ten of Long Island’s largest employers – as identified by Newsday’s top workplaces on Long Island – are:
- Stony Brook Southampton Hospital (1,330 employees)
- Zebra Technologies Corp. (946 employees)
- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (943 employees)
- Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities, Inc. (938 employees)
- New York Cancer & Blood Specialists (875 employees)
- Family Service League, Inc. (815 employees)
- New York Life – Long Island (779 employees)
- Piping Rock Health Products, LLC (572 employees)
- WellLife Network Inc. (550 employees)
- BNB Bank (505 employees)
According to Newsday, across all workforce sizes, some of the sectors with the largest numbers of top Long Island employers include:
- Children’s and Family Services
- Construction and Home Remodeling
- Financial Planning
- Hospitals and Health Care (including Mental Health)
- Human and Social Services
- Real Estate
Top Occupations on Long Island
Given these lists, you might be able to guess some of the top occupations on Long Island. Indeed, many of the area’s top occupations (in terms of total workforce) fall in the industry sectors listed above. Some of the most common occupations on Long Island include:
- Doctors and Nurses
- Other Health Care Professionals
- Construction Workers
- Social Workers
- Child and Adult Care Providers
- Bankers, Financial Advisors, and Brokers
- Project Managers and Supervisors
- IT Specialists
- Trade Workers (i.e., HVAC, Electrical Work, Plumbing, and Painting)
- Warehouse, Industrial and Transportation Workers
Of course, none of these lists are exclusive. There are many more companies, industry sectors, and occupations with significant representation on Long Island. No matter what you do for work, state and/or federal disability and workers’ compensation laws protect you, and you can – and should – seek legal help if you get injured or sick on the job.
Workplace Injury and Accident Statistics for Long Island, New York
With regard to getting injured or sick on the job, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) show that certain injuries and illnesses are particularly common among Long Island and other New York residents. The BLS’s data also show that employees in certain occupations are at exceptionally high risk for suffering injuries and illnesses on the job.
Leading Causes of Job-Related Injuries and Other Disabling Injuries on Long Island
While the BLS publishes statistics on fatal workplace accidents and exposure events, other statistics show that the leading causes of workplace fatalities are among the leading causes of non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses. With this in mind, the leading causes of job-related injuries and illnesses on Long Island and throughout New York include:
Contact with Objects and Equipment
Falling objects, flying objects, and moving equipment are all common causes of work-related injuries on Long Island. While these types of accidents may be most common on construction sites and in warehouses and industrial facilities, they can occur in all workplaces.
Contact with objects can also involve bumping into counters, desks, carts, shelves, and other pieces of furniture and equipment. Healthcare workers, office workers, and others can all suffer injuries in these types of accidents that require medical treatment and leave them unable to work for an extended period of time.
Exposure to Harmful Substances or Environments
Exposure to harmful substances is a risk in all types of workplaces as well. This includes exposure to noxious fumes, toxic chemicals or particulates, and communicable diseases. Exposure to different harmful substances can have different effects, from short-term diseases to chronic respiratory illnesses and even cancer.
Exposure to harsh (i.e., extremely hot or cold) work environments is also a concern for many employees, especially those who work outdoors. Long Island gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter, and both of these conditions can present risks for workers who spend long hours laboring in the elements.
Fires and Explosions
Although relatively rare, fires and explosions can cause severe traumatic injuries when they occur. This includes electrical fires, explosions resulting from the ignition of gasoline and other fuels, and fires and explosions triggered by appliance and equipment malfunctions. Sadly, many fires and explosions are fatal, and those that are not fatal often leave victims suffering from life-altering injuries.
Repetitive stress is among the most common causes of on-the-job injuries. While repetitive stress typically isn’t fatal, many Long Island employees suffer from chronic pain, limited mobility, and other effects of performing the same routine physical tasks and movements on a day-to-day basis.
Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) can affect all parts of the body. While wrist, elbow, shoulder, and knee injuries are particularly common, workers across Long Island miss time from work due to all types of RSI.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls are common causes of injuries both on and off the job. If you were injured in a fall at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in addition to Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and/or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. If you were injured in a fall at home, you wouldn’t be eligible for workers’ comp (unless you were working from home), but you could still qualify for SSDI and/or SSI benefits.
Transportation accidents are among the leading causes of job-related injuries. While commuting generally isn’t an activity covered under workers’ compensation, you may be covered if you drive for work. Additionally, similar to injuries from falls, injuries from transportation accidents can qualify Long Island residents for SSDI and SSI benefits even if their accidents are not incident to their employment.
Violence and Animal Attacks
According to the BLS, more than 10% of fatal occupational injuries suffered by Long Island and other New York residents result from violence and animal attacks. While the percentage of non-fatal injuries is significantly lower (since repetitive stress is a leading cause of non-fatal injuries but generally not a cause of fatal injuries), violence, in particular, is still a very real concern for Long Island residents in many occupations. Similar to other causes of job-related injuries, injuries from violence and animal attacks can qualify employees for workers’ compensation, SSDI, SSI and other benefits.
More Long Island, New York Workplace Injury and Illness Statistics
The BLS’s occupational injury and illness data shed light on some other notable statistics for Long Island residents as well. The New York State Department of Health has also published workplace injury and illness statistics, although it has not updated its data since 2014.
According to the BLS, the industry sectors with the most work-related injuries and illnesses on Long Island and throughout New York include:
- Education services
- Financial services
- Health services
- Leisure and hospitality
- Professional and business services
- State and local government
- Trade, transportation and utilities
The BLS’s data also show that on Long Island and in the rest of New York:
- Most workplace accidents involve employees between the ages of 55 and 64. The age range with the next-highest incident rate is 65 and older, followed by 45 to 54. Workers under the age of 45 in New York have a significantly lower rate of job-related injuries and illnesses.
- Approximately six out of every seven workplace incidents resulting in serious injury involves a male employee.
- Other industries with significant numbers of fatal and non-fatal workplace injuries include wholesale trade, retail, entertainment and recreation, food service, and technical services.
Your Rights After Suffering a Disabling Injury on Long Island
So, if you live on Long Island and have been injured on the job, what are your legal rights? The answer to this question depends on a variety of different factors. While multiple state and federal programs pay benefits to injured workers, each of these programs has its own specific eligibility requirements. With this in mind, determining your eligibility requires the answers to questions such as:
- Were you injured or did you get sick on the job?
- How long has it been since you got injured or sick?
- How long have you been employed?
- Does your employer have workers’ compensation coverage?
- What is your current weekly income?
Here is an overview of four of the main government benefit programs that provide compensation to injured workers on Long Island:
1. Workers’ Compensation
Under New York law, most employers on Long Island are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. If you are an employee, your employer has coverage, and you have been injured on the job, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
In New York, workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system. As a result, you do not need to prove fault to collect benefits. Workers’ compensation covers virtually all types of job-related injuries and illnesses, and benefits include weekly cash disability payments, medical coverage, and compensation for loss of use.
2. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that pays benefits to eligible Long Island residents who cannot maintain their employment due to a disabling injury or illness. SSDI benefits are available to workers who have earned enough “Social Security credits” through their employment and have been diagnosed with qualifying physical or mental impairments.
3. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental security income (SSI) is another federal program that pays benefits to eligible Long Island residents, but, unlike SSDI, SSI is a needs-based program. To qualify to receive SSI benefits, you must be able to demonstrate that your current financial resources are insufficient to support a reasonable standard of living. Many workers need to file for SSI as a result of suffering disabling injuries and illnesses, and some workers are eligible to receive “concurrent” SSDI and SSI benefits.
4. Veterans Disability Insurance
If you are a U.S. military veteran, you may be eligible for benefits through veterans disability insurance. Administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), veterans disability insurance provides tax-free compensation to veterans who sustain injuries and illnesses during their active duty military service. This includes injuries and illnesses that result in disabilities following retirement or discharge.
Are You Unable to Work Due to an Injury or Illness? Contact Us on Long Island for a Free Consultation
Do you need to seek benefits for a job-related injury or illness on Long Island? If so, we can help, and we encourage you to contact us right away. To speak with one of our experienced disability lawyers in confidence, call 516-745-5666 or request a free consultation online today.