Our Long Island Workers’ Comp Lawyers Help Injured Workers Recover Compensation in All 5 Boroughs and Upstate New York
Jobsite injuries are common across New York City, throughout New York State, and across the country. However, if an employer has workers’ compensation insurance in place, employees who are hurt while performing job-related tasks are entitled to benefits. Anyone who has suffered a personal injury related to a job task has the right to speak to a New York or Long Island workers’ comp lawyer. Turley Redmond & Rosasco, L.L.P. is ready to stand by your side and protect your rights. Contact us today to discuss your options and due benefits during a free consultation. We serve clients in Manhattan and Long Island — including Nassau County and Suffolk County.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides a fixed set of benefits to individuals who suffer work-related injuries and illnesses. Every state, including New York, requires almost all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees’ losses from illnesses and injuries sustained on the job. One of the hallmark features of the workers’ compensation program is that, with very few exceptions, injured workers are eligible to collect benefits regardless of whether they or their employer were at fault for their injuries. Workers’ compensation is thus known as a “no-fault” program, eliminating the need for injured employees to prove that their employers were negligent or otherwise at fault in causing their injuries.
We represent many types of injured workers, including:
- Delivery drivers, including furniture, food, vending machine, UPS, FedEx, and appliance delivery
- Construction workers
- Truck drivers
- Retail workers
- Healthcare workers
- Bus drivers
- Ambulance drivers
- City workers
- Police officers & Firefighters
- Cab drivers
- Garbage truck drivers
- Tunnel & railroad workers
- Remote employees
- And more…
What Counts as a Job Accident in New York?
The workers’ compensation program takes a broad view of the term “workplace accident” and provides benefits for workers who are injured in almost any kind of accident. Some of the most common work-related accidents, illnesses, and injuries in New York City and Long Island include:
- Slips and falls
- Machinery malfunctions
- Falling objects
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Crashes and collisions
- Cuts, bruises, and lacerations
- Hearing loss from exposure to loud noises
- Occupational diseases
Is Workers’ Comp Mandatory in NY?
Workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory for virtually all employees in the state of New York. An “employee” for this purpose is any person who performs under the supervision, direction, and control of an employer either on or off their premises. This includes workers who are:
- Casual/day laborers
However, as with all government-mandated programs, there are notable exceptions. One of the largest of those exceptions is independent contractors, who generally are not required to be covered by workers’ compensation. A worker may be considered to be an independent contractor if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Perform their services free from direction or control
- Obtain their own Federal Employer Identification Number
- Maintain a separate business establishment
- Perform work different from that of the hiring business
- Works for businesses other than the hiring business
- Are responsible for performing satisfactorily under a specific contract
- Obtain a liability insurance policy under their own legal business name
- Have recurring business liabilities and obligations
- Advertise their own business
- Provide all equipment and materials necessary to fulfill the contract
- Work under their own operating permit, contract, or authority
Several other classes of workers are also not required to be covered by workers’ compensation, including:
- New York City teachers, police officers, firefighters, and sanitation workers
- Clergy and members of religious orders performing religious duties
- Sole proprietors who do not have employees
- Partnerships, LLCs, and LLPs that do not have employees
- One- or two-person corporations where those two people own all of the stock and hold all of the corporate officers
If your employer is alleging that you do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you should consider speaking to a workers’ comp lawyer.
New York State Workers’ Comp Benefits For Claimants
Workers who are injured on the job may be entitled to benefits such as:
- Weekly cash disability benefits — If you cannot work, you may receive weekly benefits equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage. This amount should be computed from ALL earnings, including overtime, bonuses, and second jobs.
- Medical benefits — Your employer must pay for reasonable and necessary medical care, including emergency room visits, hospital care, doctor visits, diagnostic testing, medications, medical equipment, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Schedule Loss of Use (SLU)— You may be entitled to an additional cash award for loss of limb — even if you have not lost time from work if you have suffered a permanent injury to a shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, hand, finger(s), hip, leg, knee, ankle, foot or toe(s). You may also receive an SLU award for a permanent loss of vision, loss of hearing, or facial disfigurement. The amount of the cash award depends on the body part and the degree of permanent disability.
- Lump sum Section 32 settlements — You and the workers’ compensation insurance company may decide that a lump sum buyout of your entire claim is in your mutual best interests. These lump sum buyouts are called “Section 32” Settlements and are frequently negotiated after a worker has completed the majority of his or her medical care or reached maximum medical improvement. In some cases where an injured worker needs ongoing lifetime medical care, a buyout of only one’s weekly cash benefits can be negotiated so that medical insurance is preserved. Our workers’ comp attorneys can help you make an informed decision and, if you wish to settle, negotiate your Section 32 agreement.
- Death benefits — If a worker is killed on the job or dies from complications of a job injury, his or her family members can collect benefits based on the average weekly wage.
You have the right to hire a job accident lawyer at any point in the process. Our workers’ comp lawyers do not — in fact, cannot — collect any payment upfront. Our fees are paid from your eventual benefits award or settlement at a rate determined by statute or a workers’ comp judge based upon what is fair and reasonable. Because workers’ compensation claims are smaller than most other accident claims, you will never pay a typical attorney fee of one-third to your workers’ compensation attorney. Legal fees are more often in the 15 percent range, depending on the amount of work involved in your claim.
The New York Claims Process For Injured Workers
When you are injured at work, you must report the accident to your supervisor or employer within 30 days. After that:
- Your employer then must report your accident to its workers’ compensation insurance carrier and the New York Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) within 10 days of your notification on an official C-2 form (Employer’s Report of Work-Related Accident).
- You then have a full two years to file your claim directly with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board on an official C-3 form (Employee’s Report of Work-Related Injury or Illness). However, we strongly recommend that you file a C-3 as soon as possible after your accident so that your rights to compensation and medical benefits are fully protected. You can also complete and file the C-3 form online. Our office files all our clients’ claims electronically to speed their receipt of cash and medical benefits.
- After your accident, your first concern will be medical treatment. In New York State, you can choose to see any doctor you want as long as that doctor takes workers’ compensation insurance and has the proper credentials from the WCB. In some cases, you may see multiple doctors at the same time for the same injury. For example, an injured claimant with a back injury could be seeing an orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, and a chiropractor at the same time. It is important to see your physician(s) regularly (at least once every 45 days) while you are out of work and recuperating in order to maintain your cash benefits.
- The workers’ compensation insurer, or one of its representatives, nurses, and/or investigators may contact you after your accident. We recommend that you do not speak to them directly, as this may hurt your claim. This is a good time to call an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to learn your rights.
A workers’ comp lawyer from Turley Redmond & Rosasco will be glad to guide you through the process and fill out all forms to protect your rights to the compensation you deserve. We can explain every issue that may come up in a workers’ comp claim, including how much money you will be entitled to receive, your medical benefits, pre-existing conditions, denial of treatment, termination of benefits, return-to-work issues, permanent disability cash awards, and workers’ compensation settlements.
Your Employer’s Responsibilities in a Workers Compensation Claim
Your employer must follow the rules outlined by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. Your employer is responsible for maintaining a safe work environment, but you are entitled to recover compensation regardless of fault. Although your employer may face other repercussions for workplace safety violations and equipment, you cannot be denied coverage for your injuries based on this factor.
Your employer is responsible for filing forms and for cooperating with its insurance company and the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. To protect your interests, our workers’ compensation law firm checks that your employer is complying and takes action if it is not.
Our New York and Long Island Workers’ Comp Lawyers Advise You to Cooperate with the Insurance Company
Being questioned about your accident and injuries is frustrating. It is important to understand that the insurance carrier’s questions are normal. You should cooperate while also protecting your rights. Often, insurance companies question the nature of the injury or whether the injury is related to a job accident. To assess your injury, the carrier may ask that you submit to an independent examination with a doctor of its choice. This does not mean you are being forced to switch doctors; rather, the insurance company is verifying the diagnosis, course of treatment, and prognosis for recovery as reported by your doctor.
Insurance companies commonly investigate the link between injury and accident. Some cases are more straightforward, such as a chef who cuts her hand while preparing food at the restaurant. Other cases may require more substantiation, such as a salesperson who crashes his car while on a call. Our work-related injury attorneys make a compelling argument, backed by evidence, to link your injuries to a job-site accident.
Our Workers’ Comp Lawyers Will Take the Time to Answer Your Questions at Our Offices in Nassau and Suffolk County
You’ve had an accident at work. Aside from the pain, you have many questions and concerns that a Long Island workers’ comp lawyer can answer.
What should I do if I’m injured at work?
Your most important course of action after suffering an injury in a workplace accident is to first obtain medical treatment from an approved provider who is authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board. You should notify your employer about your injury in writing as soon as possible, as injured employees who wait longer than 30 days to report their injuries may lose their right to collect workers’ compensation benefits. You should then file your claim for workers’ compensation benefits by completing Form C-3 and mailing it to the nearest office of the Workers’ Compensation Board.
How do I report this to my employer?
You must notify your supervisor, or someone in authority, about your injury within 30 days of the accident. It is best to provide written notice; however, oral notice is acceptable. There are some exceptions to this requirement which an attorney can explain to you.
Can I go to my own doctor?
You may seek treatment for your work-related injury with any healthcare provider authorized by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. Healthcare providers include physicians, chiropractors, hospitals, and walk-in clinics.
Who pays the medical bills?
So long as your claim is accepted, the employer or the employer’s insurance company is responsible for payment of your medical expenses related to the on-the-job injury. There are no co-payments or deductibles. You should never pay a healthcare provider for treatment rendered in connection with a work-related injury.
What cash benefits do I get under workers’ comp if I am out of work?
There is a seven-day waiting period before cash benefits become payable. However, if the disability extends past fourteen days, benefits are payable from day one. If an injured worker is disabled as a result of a work-related injury, he or she is entitled to two-thirds of his or her average weekly salary for the year preceding the accident date. There is a cap or maximum benefit payable, depending upon the accident date. If the injured worker is determined to have a partial disability, varying rates may apply.
Will I lose my job if I file a workers’ compensation claim?
It is unlawful for an employer to terminate an injured worker in retaliation for filing or attempting to file a workers’ compensation claim. A claim may be filed by preparing and signing Workers’ Compensation Form C-3 and filing it with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board within two years of the accident date or onset of occupational illness. This can be done through the mail, via fax, electronically, or by dropping the form off at any local office of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. You should always obtain proof that you filed the C-3 Form.
Do I need a Manhattan or Long Island workers’ comp lawyer?
The workers’ compensation system has become increasingly complex in recent years. An experienced workers’ comp attorney will help you navigate the waters and sort through the sea of paperwork you will receive throughout your claim.
How much does a workers’ compensation attorney cost? Lawyers’ fees are set by the Workers’ Compensation Judge assigned to your case and are based upon services rendered by the attorney. There is no fee unless the attorney is successful in obtaining cash benefits for you.
Do I have to pay anything upfront to my workers’ comp lawyer? (The answer is “No!”)
No. All fees are subject to the approval of the Workers’ Compensation Board. It is unlawful for an attorney to demand or accept upfront money from an injured worker in a workers’ compensation claim in New York City, Nassau County, Suffolk County, or any other area in Long Island.
What Is the Coming and Going Rule for Workers’ Comp in NY?
Injuries sustained by workers are compensable under the New York workers’ compensation program to the extent that they “arise out of” and are “in the course” of employment. This requirement gives rise to the “coming and going rule” — i.e., injuries sustained while going to or coming from work are not considered work-related injuries and thus are not compensable. However, there are several exceptions to the coming and going rule.
The Special Errand Exception
One of the broadest exceptions to the coming and going rule is the special errand exception, in which injuries may be compensable if they were sustained while running a special errand for an employer while coming or going from work. This exception could apply, for example, when an employer asks an employee to stop and pick up some brochures from the printer on her way to work, and the employee is involved in a vehicle accident while doing so. Note that the employer’s request does not necessarily have to be explicit; the test for whether the special errand exception applies is whether the employer encouraged the errand and obtained a benefit from the employee’s performance of the errand.
Other Exceptions to the Coming and Going Rule
New York courts have found several other exceptions to the coming and going rule under certain circumstances, including:
- Workers who travel as part of their work duties, such as delivery drivers
- Workers who do not have a fixed work location, such as door-to-door salespeople
- Workers whose home serves as an additional place of employment
- Workers who suffer injuries while driving company cars
- Workers whose employers typically provide transportation to and from work
- Workers who are injured in dual-purpose trips that blend business and personal purposes
- Workers who are injured during business trips
Whether a particular injury falls within the scope of an exception to the coming and going rule depends upon the unique facts of the individual case; if you think your injuries might be compensable under one of the exceptions above, please contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer.
How Long Can You Get Workers’ Comp in NY? Understanding Duration with a Workers’ Comp Attorney
The New York workers’ compensation program does not use a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the duration of benefits. Rather, the period for which benefits are payable depends upon the extent and severity of the worker’s injuries. To calculate that period, the Board uses the claimant’s loss of wage-earning capacity. For example, for a worker whose injuries caused a 15% or less loss of earning capacity, benefits are payable for a maximum of 225 weeks. That rises to 300 weeks for 40-50% loss, 400 weeks for 70-75% loss, and 500 weeks for 90-95% loss. Workers who suffer injuries covered under Schedule Loss of Use awards (arm, hand, finger/thumb, leg, foot, toe, eyesight, hearing, and disfigurement) may be eligible for additional payments for up to 312 weeks.
Do You Have to Pay Workers’ Comp Back in NY?
Generally, no. Workers’ compensation benefits are paid out under workers’ compensation policies and recipients do not have to pay them back. They are also not considered taxable income for state or federal tax purposes. However, there are two narrow exceptions to this rule:
- Third-party claims: Workers who claim benefits under workers’ compensation and who recover through third-party claims (either through a settlement or damages award), will have their workers’ compensation benefits reduced by the amount paid up to the date of the third-party recovery, minus litigation costs
- Fraud: Claimants who commit workers’ compensation fraud by making false statements or omitting material facts during the claims process may be required to pay back any benefits they receive
If you are considering pursuing a third-party claim in addition to claiming workers’ compensation benefits, your best bet is to speak to a workers comp lawyer.
How Long Do Most Workers’ Comp Settlements Take?
Every injured worker is different, so every workers’ compensation settlement process likewise is different. In most cases, the simpler the claim and the less severe the injury, the quicker the settlement process. Factors that can affect a settlement timeline include:
- The cost of the workers’ medical care
- The severity of the worker’s injury
- The degree of the worker’s disability
- The workers’ average weekly wage
- Whether the worker has pre-existing conditions
- Whether any facts in the worker’s case are disputed
- Whether the worker’s injury was caused by a third-party
Regardless of the issues involved, hiring an experienced workers’ comp lawyer is often an effective strategy for expediting workers’ compensation settlements.
Recover Your Rightful Benefits – Contact a Long Island Worker’s Comp Lawyer Now
Any worker who experienced an injury performing job-related tasks will naturally have questions regarding their rights and workers’ compensation claim options. The good news is that with one toll-free phone call, a workers comp attorney at Turley Redmond & Rosasco, L.L.P., can provide you with the answers.
Our firm has been helping injured workers in New York City, Long Island, and the surrounding areas for more than 25 years. On a daily basis, our lawyers represent clients at administrative hearings before judges of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board and negotiate their settlements with insurance companies and employers. Contact a workers’ comp lawyer today to discuss your legal options during a free, no-obligation consultation. We can be reached at 1-800-671-4927 or online. Our worker’s compensation attorneys look forward to helping you recover your workers’ comp benefits and have convenient office locations in Suffolk County (Shirley and Ronkonkoma) and Nassau County (Garden City).