Workers’ Compensation—The Basics

In New York, when you have suffered an injury on the job, you are protected by the state’s workers’ compensation laws. There are only two requirements to qualify for benefits—you must have suffered an injury and it must have happened during the course of your employment. There are a few exceptions—for example, workers cannot recover for intentionally self-inflicted injuries.

The New York workers’ compensation laws were enacted to provide benefits to both employers and employees:

  • Workers benefit from a streamlined process. There’s no need to get on the court’s docket or to go through the discovery process. An injured worker can often start receiving benefits within a few weeks. In addition, workers’ compensation is essentially a no-fault approach. There’s no need to demonstrate negligence on the part of the employer.
  • Employers benefit from the ceiling set on benefits paid out. Workers’ compensation payments are calculated based on average weekly income over the past 52 weeks, with a cap on benefits paid. Accordingly, an employer is not at risk of an exorbitant judgment by a sympathetic jury.

Under the New York workers’ compensation, you can qualify for temporary or permanent benefits, and for partial or total disability. If you cannot work at all because of your injury, you will be entitled to full benefits for the time you are off work. Benefits typically do not start until you have been unable to work for one week. Benefits include compensation for lost income, as well as reimbursement of necessary medical expenses. If, on the other hand, your injuries only keep you from working for a limited period of time, benefits will cease when you return to work. Additional benefits may be available, though, if you have a permanent, but partial, disability, one that does not make it impossible for you to work in any capacity.

When you file for workers’ compensation benefits, your employer and/or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will most likely require that you submit to a medical examination by a doctor of their choosing. That does not mean you cannot be treated by your own physician. You have a right to videotape the examination, and can refuse to submit if the doctor does not allow that.

Workers’ Compensation Hearings

In many instances, instead of simply granting your application for benefits, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board will schedule a hearing. Your employer may allege that your injuries were not work-related or that it does not affect your ability to work. Either party may challenge the amount of benefits to be paid.

At the hearing, both sides will have the opportunity to present evidence. At the end of the hearing, the workers’ compensation judge will issue a ruling, either granting or denying the claim for benefits. Either party can appeal that decision.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits in New York—Understanding Your Basic Rights

Experienced Queens |NYC | Brooklyn | Bronx Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we handle all matters related to workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims for people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.

To learn more about the full scope of our practice, see our workers compensation practice area overview page.

Pyrros & Serres LLP

Queens | Bronx | Brooklyn | NYC Workers’ Compensation Attorneys