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Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Suffolk County 

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Workplace accidents and injuries are all too common. According to the most recent figures available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 2.3 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in private industry in New York. While that rate is below the national average of 2.7, a workplace accident or illness can have devastating impacts on individuals and their families. The good news for injured workers in Suffolk County is that they likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, and our Suffolk County workers’ compensation lawyers can help injured workers obtain them. 

Who Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation Benefits 

The vast majority of employers in Suffolk County are required under New York law to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. In practical terms, that includes the following classes of people: 

  • Workers in private enterprise, including full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, casual, and borrowed employees 
  • Domestic employees
  • Farm laborers
  • Employees of the state of New York 
  • Employees of counties and municipalities who perform hazardous activities

While the above categories cover most workers in Suffolk County, they do not cover all workers. A few major categories of workers who are not required to be covered under their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance include: 

  • Volunteers
  • Sole proprietors
  • Independent contractors
  • Priests, clergy, and members of religious orders
  • New York City police officers, firefighters, and sanitation workers
  • New York City public school teachers
  • Teachers at non-profit institutions 

If you believe that you are wrongly being denied workers’ compensation coverage, our Suffolk County workers compensation lawyers can assist you. 

Workers’ Compensation Is Available Only for Work-Related Injuries 

Just as almost all employees are covered by workers’ compensation, almost all workplace accidents are eligible for compensation. Generally, an accident is considered to be “work-related” when it arises out of and occurs in the course of the worker’s employment. That definition necessarily excludes: 

  • Most commuting accidents and injuries
  • Most injuries sustained while the worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Most injuries sustained while engaging in horseplay 
  • Most accidents caused by intentional behavior 

While most of the above types of injuries are not compensable, there are almost always exceptions to the exceptions. Our Suffolk County workers’ compensation lawyers can help you determine whether your predicament fits into one. 

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available to Injured Workers in Suffolk County 

Workers’ compensation benefits in New York are split into three categories: 

Medical Benefits

Medical benefits are designed to treat the injured worker’s injuries. They include all medical treatments that are necessary for the worker’s recovery, including emergency department treatment, doctors’ visits, surgery, post-surgical procedures, physical therapy, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices (such as wheelchairs and crutches). While New York workers’ compensation law requires insurance companies to pay the full cost of medical care, the injured worker must obtain care from a provider that has been authorized by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (most are). In most cases, the injured worker’s employer or insurer will let them know where to go to receive medical treatment. 

Cash Benefits

Cash benefits are designed to compensate injured workers for lost income while they are unable to work due to injury. They replace some — but not all — of the workers’ previous wages. The formula to calculate cash benefits is ⅔ average weekly wage x % of disability = weekly cash benefit. To illustrate: Suppose an injured worker made an average of $800 per week before their accident and the accident renders them 60% disabled. Their average weekly cash benefit would be about $320 (⅔ x 800 x 0.6 = 319.99). Cash benefits are subject to certain maximums, which the Workers’ Compensation Board updates every year on July 1. 

Survivor Benefits 

In the tragic event that a worker dies, their surviving spouse and/or minor children and/or other dependents are entitled to survivor benefits. The amount to which they are entitled is equal to two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage for the 52 weeks prior to the accident. If the worker had no surviving spouse, minor children or other dependents, the worker’s surviving parents or estate may receive a one-time payment of $50,000.  

The Workers’ Compensation Claims Process 

The workers’ compensation claims process is fairly straightforward (at least on the workers’ side). First, the injured worker should seek medical care as soon as possible after the injury. The worker must then notify their employer that a workplace accident occurred within 30 days. The worker then has two years to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board. However, our Suffolk County workers’ compensation lawyers recommend filing your claim as soon as possible. 

What’s the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability, and Personal Injury Lawsuits? 

Workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability, and personal injury lawsuits are commonly confused. We have already established what workers’ compensation is — i.e., benefits workers receive for injuries sustained in work-related accidents. 

Social Security Disability is a federal program that pays cash benefits to individuals who suffer injuries or illnesses that prevent them from working for at least 12 months. Eligible injuries and illnesses for Social Security Disability do not need to be work-related. However, applicants must have a health condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disability” and have a sufficient work history to qualify for benefits

Personal injury lawsuits are civil actions between two or more private parties where the injured party seeks to obtain monetary damages from the at-fault party. Injured workers who are eligible for workers’ compensation cannot pursue personal injury lawsuits against their employers in most cases. That prohibition does not extend to third parties who were involved in the accident that led to the injury. 

Our Suffolk County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help You Obtain the Benefits You Deserve 

If you’re considering pursuing a workers’ compensation claim in Suffolk County, your best bet for success is to seek the counsel of an attorney who has experience handling those types of claims. For more information, please contact the Suffolk County workers’ compensation lawyers 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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