Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for Workers’ Compensation in New York
Applying for workers’ compensation benefits is not as simple as filling out a form and submitting it. The application process requires that you follow certain procedures, submit the proper evidence, and meet the applicable deadlines. Complex cases could also involve one or more hearings and appeals. Without the proper guidance, it is easy to make mistakes that could jeopardize your claim. Below are some of the most common mistakes claimants make during the workers’ compensation claims process. For more information about applying for workers’ compensation, please contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in New York at one of our Nassau County or Suffolk County locations.
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in New York Urge You to Seek Medical Care
Securing appropriate medical care should be the first thing you do after your workplace accident for several reasons. First, you will want to promptly seek medical attention to minimize the extent of your injuries and begin the road to recovery as soon as possible. The sooner you recover, the sooner you can return to work. Second, failure to seek medical attention in a timely manner after a workplace accident can delegitimize your claim in several ways. For example, it could be argued that:
- Your injury was not as severe as you claim
- Your injury did not impact your ability to work
- It could shed doubt on whether the injury took place on the job
Promptly seeking medical care can also help to establish solid medical evidence of the extent and consequences of your injuries, which will be useful when you file your workers’ compensation claim.
Failing to Report Your Injury to Your Employer
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board requires you to report a work-related accidental injury to your employer as soon as possible, but no more than 30 days after the accident. For occupational illnesses and diseases that develop over the course of many years, you have 30 days from the time you knew or should have known that your condition was work-related; usually when your doctor informs you of the diagnosis and connects it to your work activity. Notice may be given orally or in writing.
Not reporting your injury to your employer soon enough can have several detrimental effects on your case, such as:
- Your employer may claim that the injury occurred outside of work
- Your employer can deny you medical treatment and out of work benefits
- Your employer’s insurance carrier may not be able to properly investigate the claim, as witnesses and key evidence may no longer be available
Workers who fail to timely report their injuries may lose their right to workers’ compensation benefits. Speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer in New York as soon as possible to discuss your options if you believe you’ve waited too long. There are some exceptions to the notice requirement that only an experienced New York workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to discern.
Being Untruthful (Even Accidentally)
You must take care at all times to be truthful about how your accident occurred and its effect on your ability to work. Failure to tell the truth or leaving out important details can lead to allegations of workers’ compensation fraud—a serious criminal offense. Some examples of workers’ compensation fraud include:
- Claiming a non-existent injury
- Claiming that your injury was work-related when, in fact, it was not
- Exaggerating the severity of your injuries
- Working in a capacity inconsistent with your injuries while receiving workers’ compensation benefits
- Falsifying mileage records when driving to and from medical appointments
- Failure to disclose a prior injury or pre-existing condition
Even though workers’ compensation fraud requires that the employee “intentionally misrepresents…an injury for the purpose of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits,” the mere allegation of workers’ compensation fraud could have serious consequences for your claim.
Not Following Your Doctor’s Orders
Neglecting to follow your doctor’s orders can not only result in a deterioration of your medical condition, but it could also undermine your workers’ compensation claim. This is because insurance companies can argue that, because you are not following through with the proper medical treatment, your injury does not exist or that you were exaggerating its severity. To avoid that outcome, ensure that you attend all doctor’s appointments, take all prescribed medications, and attend any physical therapy sessions your doctor recommends.
Not Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in New York
Hiring an attorney is not required when filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, doing so can significantly increase your chances of success in obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. As demonstrated above, the New York workers’ compensation system is rife with opportunities for pitfalls, which a workers’ compensation lawyer in New York can help you avoid. Workers’ compensation attorneys can also help you present the strongest case possible. And if your case requires a hearing or an appeal, a workers’ compensation attorney can appear on your behalf and argue your side of the story.
Contact a Top Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in New York By Calling Turley Redmond & Rosasco
For more information about the workers’ compensation claims process, please contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Turley Redmond & Rosasco by using our online form or calling 516-745-5666 (Garden City), 631-582-3700 (Ronkonkoma), or 631-399-0400 (Shirley).