Seeking compensation for work-related injuries can be more challenging than some think. Many insurance companies do everything they can to deny claims or minimize what they pay in benefits. Knowing what not to do while on workers’ comp is a great way to avoid headaches when seeking the money and benefits that you may deserve.
A workers’ compensation lawyer in New York can explain how to avoid common pitfalls when collecting payments. Here is everything you need to know.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
No matter where you work, you could experience a work-related accident like a slip, trip, or fall accident. In 2020, New York companies reported over 129,000 nonfatal work-related injuries. Workers’ compensation provides financial protection for employees who need to recover from monetary setbacks like wage losses and necessary medical treatment.
Each state has its own workers’ compensation laws and policy minimums. New York policies require all for-profit businesses to insure every active employee. Companies that do not cover their employees with workers’ comp are subject to steep penalties.
Even though almost all employees in New York have access to workers’ compensation benefits, certain mistakes can prevent those workers from collecting reimbursement. From the moment you file your claim to the end of your case, the New York Workers’ Board of Compensation expects you to adhere to some basic principles. Below is a list of what NOT to do while on workers’ comp:
Failing to Report Accidents and Details
New York law dictates that an injured worker must report their accident to their employer within 30 days of the incident. Waiting longer may disqualify you from pursuing the financial help you deserve.
Still, you may not always know the exact date of your work-related injury. For example, the symptoms of occupational illnesses may not appear until weeks after exposure to a toxin or even performing repetitive work, like typing, over time. In this case, you have up to 30 days to report an illness or a repetitive occupation injury from the day you should have known there was a problem.
Speak to a lawyer to determine a reasonable timeframe for your situation.
Not Choosing Your Own Doctor
Avoid sticking with an employer or insurance company-appointed doctor when treating your work injury. Although you may respect your employer or trust your insurance company, choosing your own doctor helps avoid conflicts of interest.
Your boss cannot force you to work with a specific medical professional. You have the legal right to choose the doctor who will treat you for your work-related injury.
Exaggerating your symptoms or lying about your injuries is one of the fastest ways to lose your workers’ comp benefits. Doctors will regularly assess your condition during checkups. A medical professional can spot discrepancies and might label you as a malingerer (someone who fakes injuries).
Also, if you fail to mention any past injuries, the Board may refuse your claim because you have a record of dishonesty. Learning what not to do while on workers’ comp can also keep you out of legal trouble. Fraud is a punishable offense in New York.
In 2020, New York fraud investigators uncovered over $3,200,000 in workers comp fraud and arrested 13 individuals on felony charges.
Not Complying With Doctor’s Orders
During your treatment, a doctor can limit your physical activities at home and work. Failing to comply with medical orders may compromise your workers’ comp benefits. Examples of this behavior include:
- Lifting heavy objects when a doctor orders you to rest
- Participating in exercises disapproved by your physician
- Going back to work before you get medical clearance
- Not taking medication
- Failing to attend treatments or checkups
Sometimes, you may feel better sooner than you expected. Nevertheless, you should still comply with your healthcare professional’s orders and get medical clearance before you return to work.
Remember that CCTV cameras and coworkers are watching your actions. Don’t risk losing your benefits by doing tasks others can complete while you recover.
Quitting Your Job
Employers can avoid paying wage loss benefits by offering injured workers jobs within their restrictions. This solution allows employees to return to work with the consent of their doctors. The New York Workers’ Board of Compensation claims that 50% of workers return to their jobs after six months’ leave.
Your employer may try to ease you back into physical duties that go beyond restrictions. It’s important to refrain from performing these activities prior to getting medical clearance from your doctor. However, don’t rush to quit your job over these requests.
Walking away may forfeit your wage loss payments and prevent you from collecting in the coming months or years. Speak to a lawyer if your employer risks your health and benefits by demanding duties beyond your restrictions.
Not Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in New York
Knowing what not to do while on workers’ comp is tricky. Unfortunately, claiming ignorance rarely saves employees from losing benefits. Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer in New York can help ensure you comply with the legal requirements.
An experienced attorney can explain the details of your specific situation. They can also keep you in check by monitoring your doctor’s reports and answer your questions along the way.
Additionally, a workers’ comp lawyer can interact with the insurance companies and the Board on your behalf. This way, you don’t incriminate yourself with information that may end your claim.
Ignoring Advice From an NYC Workers’ Comp Lawyer
You may assume you have all the information you need to make decisions alone. However, navigating the New York Workers’ Compensation Law and rules can be confusing. Trust the advice of an NYC workers’ comp lawyer to avoid losing your benefits.
Attorneys work to protect your legal interests and keep you on track with filing deadlines. They will review your workers’ comp claim to ensure you have included all the necessary information. Follow all their recommendations to pursue your benefits without stress.
Connect with a New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
When you need a New York workers’ compensation lawyer you can trust, contact Pyrros & Serres LLP. Our law firm represents hundreds of clients seeking restitution for their work-related injuries. We believe in ethical, honest communication when developing your legal strategy.
Learn more about what not to do while on workers’ comp with Pyrros & Serres LLP. Call our Astoria, NY, office at (718) 626-7730.
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