When you suffer an injury at work such as a car accident, a slip, trip, or fall, Worker’s compensation (WC) is a New York State insurance program that provides compensation to those who have suffered job-related injuries and illnesses regardless of who is at fault.
Workers’ compensation covers all medical treatment for your work related accident. One must never pay out of pocket for any medical bills involving work injuries. The Workers’ Compensation system pays for all hospital and medical expenses that are necessary for treating your injury.
Types of workplace injuries
There are many types of workplace injuries. Some common injuries include:
- Sprains / strains
- Cuts and lacerations
- Breaks and fractures
- Back herniations / sprains
- Neck herniations / slipped disc
- Concussion/ Head Injuries and Traumatic Brain Injury
What to Do When you are Injured at work?
As soon as you are injured at work, make sure to give notice to a supervisor. The Board rule says you have 30 days to give notice to the employer by writing or orally. While the Board says you have these 30 days, you should not wait. An employer will do an investigation once they have notice of an accident. If too much time goes by without telling a supervisor, they may raise doubts and deny your case.
The next thing to do is to seek treatment. You should go to a reputable doctor such as Complete Orthopedics. The right doctor can make or break a Workers’ Compensation case. The goal is to treat early so that all of your injuries could be documented. If one of your injuries is not claimed immediately, there is a chance that the Board will deny the injury.
After you give notice and have treated, you need to file the prescribed Board form to start your case. The form is called a C-3 and it is available at the Board’s website. Here is a link to the form.
It is also important to consult the right lawyer. Representation in Workers’ Compensation is free and there is no obligation. There is no fee unless the lawyer obtains a cash award for you.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover accidents and Illnesses Occurring Over Time?
A direct injury such as a fall off of a ladder or a motor vehicle accident is covered by Workers’ Compensation. Many injuries, however, occur over time and cannot be easily seen. For a person that types a lot all day they may develop carpal tunnel syndrome. For a factory worker, constant lifting or bending at an assembly line can cause herniations and slipped discs.
Many workers therefore receive compensation for injuries that are caused by overuse over a long period of time. Examples of this type of injury are tendinitis or gradual tears to the knee or shoulder. So it is not just accidents.
Besides direct and repetitive injuries, you may also make a claim for industrial exposure injuries. These conditions could be the result of your work conditions. For example asbestos workers can make a claim for lung disease by being constantly exposed to asbestos dust as they strip paint. Transit workers can make a claim for hearing loss if they are constantly battered by loud noise on tracks and tunnels. You may also be eligible for compensation for some illnesses and diseases not limited to include heart conditions, lung disease, and COVID.
Can I Be Treated By My Own Doctor?
In New York, you are entitled to choose your own workers’ comp doctor to treat a work-related injury, as long as the doctor has been authorized by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. A doctor such as Complete Orthopedics, can diagnose your condition and give you the treatment you need.
Are All Employees Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
Many businesses in New York State are obligated to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. The rule may include part-time employees and family members employed by the company. Note certain jobs however do not offer Workers’ Compensation coverage or benefits. Most full time NYPD police officers, Most Department of Sanitation workers, Most NYC School teachers are not covered by Workers’ Compensation. There are exceptions though, so contact a Workers’ Compensation attorney to see if you are eligible.
Sam Hechtman, Esq. is a lawyer with Ugalde and Rzonca, LLP. He has been with the firm since 2005 and practices exclusively Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability. The law firm focuses on all Workers’ Compensation accidents such as slip trips and falls, construction accidents and occupational accidents.