Hiring a New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
You work hard at your job, and you hope your employer has your back if you get hurt on the job. Even if your employer does carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may face an uphill battle while trying to get paid for your lost time and making sure that you receive the proper medical treatment. The New York State workers’ compensation system is complicated. There are over 300 pages of medical guidelines that doctors are required to follow. There are specific forms that an injured worker and his doctor need to file. Failure to follow the compensation board’s many guidelines can result in a delay in payment and needed medical treatment. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you protect your rights and give you peace of mind.
Breaking Down Workers’ Compensation Insurance Benefits
A workers’ compensation attorney can explain the complicated workers compensation law. The system helps employees injured on the job with medical expenses and lost wages while they recover. The system also helps companies by protecting them from injured employee lawsuits. It makes no difference which party is at fault if you get injured on the job – an injured worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In return, injured workers cannot take legal action against their employers.
Injured workers who are disabled and not working can receive up to two-thirds of their former gross wages. There are weekly limits. Injured workers often ask how long they can collect benefits. Deciding factors include recovery time, and illness or injury severity. Each case is different. The attorneys at Pyrros & Serres, LLP, will speak to you one on one. They will tell you what benefits you can collect and how they will work with you to maximize your recovery.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation in New York
If you get injured on the job, we advise that you immediately notify your boss or supervisor of your injury. States have” notice” deadlines that an injured worker must meet. In New York, you must notify your boss, or supervisor, within 30 days of your accident. This does not mean you should wait till the 30th day to notify your job of an injury! We advise immediate notice and medical documentation that your injury is work related. Giving notice to your employer can be as simple as sending a text message.
The general rule under the New York law is that workers are covered for accidents that occur while doing an activity that benefits the employer.
Also, a person must typically work as a traditional employee to qualify for benefits. That means volunteers and independent contractors may not qualify. Many employers try to misclassify employees’ as independent contractors.
Workers must prove that they sustained a work-related injury or illness. An injury is work-related when the injury or illness occurred while working for the company’s benefit. There are certain exclusions such as injuries that result from horseplay. If a person harms herself or himself while on lunch break, that may not qualify for workers’ comp benefits. Commuting to and from work is generally not covered. There are exceptions. Employees who work outside of an office, who are on a business trip, have use of a company vehicle or even who are sent on an errand can receive workers’ compensation benefits.
The law requires your employer to have workers’ compensation insurance. If a company should have insurance but does not when an employee becomes injured, that worker may have grounds to file a lawsuit directly against the company.
Injuries Covered by Workers’ Comp
Examples of injuries and illnesses covered by workers’ comp include spinal cord injuries, broken bones, sprains and strains and even major depressive disorder and other mental health injuries and occupational illnesses caused by harmful workplace exposure, and cumulative trauma injuries caused by repetitive motion. If an employee dies because of work-related harm or illness, surviving family members may also receive benefits.
Not all illnesses and injuries qualify for a workers’ comp claim. Those that do not meet the requirements include those suffering from harm because of substance abuse, and harm sustained while committing a crime. Before hiring a workers’ compensation attorney, workers must consider whether their injury or illness qualifies for benefits.
Filing a Claim for Workers’ Comp
To protect their rights workers must follow proper steps while filing a claim. Injured employees should seek immediate medical attention after noticing their illness or injury. This ensures they get proper treatment, and it protects their claim. Medical care providers should know that the person sustained the injury on the job and state that in the patient’s medical records.
Workers should immediately let their company know about the incident and how it happened. States have deadlines for how long workers have to file a claim, such as a few days. The company may have the necessary paperwork on hand, but employees may also access the forms online.
Appealing a Denied Claim for Workers’ Compensation
Sometimes, insurance companies deny a workers’ compensation claim. When this happens, your case will be litigated before a workers compensation Judge. The insurance carrier will be represented by an attorney. The insurance carrier or the Judge may request that you appear for a medical examination by one of their consultants. All parties may need to participate in a series of hearings before a judge. Workers may appear before a judge in a workers’ comp hearing along with witnesses and their New York workers’ compensation lawyer. It is your right to be represented. We do not advise that an injured worker appear at hearings without an attorney.
When To Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in New York
Minor on-the-job injuries may not require a legal representative’s help. However, you should speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer as you may qualify for benefits or money beyond payment of lost time and medical bills. You should protect your rights and make sure that your case is properly established.
Whether or not there is a dispute with the insurance company, it makes sense to hire a legal representative. Our lawyers help clients gather the proper evidence, which may involve working with professional witnesses, taking depositions, and seeking a medical examination.
Before appealing a denied claim, employees may want to consider consulting with a New York workers’ compensation attorney. That way, they have a better idea of how to prepare for case hearings, gather proof and file all the necessary paperwork.
When workplace harm results in permanent disability, the injury often receives a rating which determines how much a person may receive in benefits. Sometimes, insurance providers and physicians disagree on disability ratings. When this happens you need to have an attorney who will fight for you by scheduling medical testimony and arguing the law before a Judge.
HOW IS YOUR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER PAID?
In New York, your workers’ comp attorney does not receive any payment unless he/she obtains money benefits for you which are above and beyond what the insurance carrier may have already paid you voluntarily.
Insurance carriers often do not pay injured workers the benefits that they deserve under the law. The insurance carrier may not pay you at the proper weekly rate while you are out of work. Insurance carriers rarely agree to pay for the permanent nature of your injuries. In addition, the insurance company may fight your claim for money benefits and your right to receive medical treatment!
When your lawyer obtains an additional award on your behalf, the NY workers’ comp judge will decide how much your lawyer will receive as a fee for their work. The lawyers’ fee is often approximately 15% of the additional money that your lawyer may obtain for you. If your workers’ comp lawyer is not successful in getting you an award, they will not receive a fee. The attorneys’ fee is subtracted from the additional money that the lawyer may obtain for you. A NY workers’ compensation lawyer may not bill you directly for their services. As a result, most injured workers want to hire an attorney to help them with their case. Especially since the insurance companies will certainly have a lawyer on their side who will often fight your right to benefits.
Contact Us Today
Pyrros & Serres have been fighting for the rights of injured workers since 1989. Our attorneys have served as the chairmen of the Queens County Bar Associations Workers Compensation division. We have provided continuing legal education classes to other lawyers. We have conducted seminars to train physicians on the workers compensation system. You deserve the reassurance and protection that our firm provides. If you have been involved in a work related accident, or if your injuries are related to your job, you can contact NY workers’ compensation lawyers Pyrros & Serres, LLP, for legal advice. Call (718) 626-7730 or submit an online form today to schedule a free consultation. With our conveniently located offices in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, NY, we look forward to protecting your right to workers’ comp benefits. We are also available for video conference calls and remote sign up.
Your Guide To Hiring a New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Maybe you’re a construction worker and fell from a ladder or a scaffold. Perhaps you slipped on something that shouldn’t be in the work area and injured yourself. Maybe a car accident occurred on the job. Whether your injury was minor or serious, it is important to report it to your employer right away.
As soon as you report the accident to your employer, you should also hire a workers’ comp lawyer. Most employers in New York, NY must carry workers’ compensation insurance and a New York workers’ compensation lawyers can help you to navigate the complex process of fighting for benefits for an injured worker.
The Benefits of Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
There are several major benefits to hiring a workers’ comp attorney to help you with your case.
A Workers’ Comp Lawyer Can Help You File an Appeal
If the insurance company denied your workers’ compensation claim, you’ll probably need to file an appeal or request a hearing. This will go much easier if you have an attorney on your side.
A good attorney can create a list of reasons that the insurance carrier should not deny the claim. A lawyer can help you gather witnesses, medical records, and more to help you with your claim.
A Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Negotiate With the Insurance Company
A lawyer may be able to help you negotiate with the insurance company so that you get what you deserve without having to wait for a hearing or a lengthy appeals process to run its course.
An attorney understands how much injured workers deserve and won’t let an insurance company scare you into taking a “final offer.”
A Workers’ Comp Lawyer Understands the Contracts
If you are presented with a settlement agreement from the workers’ compensation insurance company, you need to be sure the correct wording is used to protect your interests. An attorney can look over your entire contract and may, for example, be able to ensure it won’t reduce any Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. He or she can also look for hidden clauses that cost you money over time.
A Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help You in Court
Unfortunately, many workers’ comp cases do end up in court. If this happens to you, it will be important to have a workers’ comp lawyer on your side.
The right lawyer can help you find witnesses, gather documentation, find evidence and case law that can help your claim, and more. A good workers’ comp attorney works hard to try to help you win your case.
When To Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney
Many people who find themselves in a workers’ comp case often ask: when is it time to hire an attorney? The answer to that question depends on several factors.
If you’re dealing with any of the following, consider hiring a New York workers’ compensation lawyer.
Your Employer or the Insurance Company Deny that You Got Hurt On the Job
Is your employer or insurance carrier denying your injury occurred at work? If the injury is slight or if you didn’t report it right away, you could face this problem.
Your Employer is Slow About Your Claim
Your employer should notify its insurance company as soon as you notify the company that you suffered an injury on the job. The company should provide you with the proper paperwork as well as report your claim to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. Typically, this process takes about 30 days.
You Have a Permanent Disability
Did your injury cause you to suffer permanent disability that may prevent you from returning to work? If so, your insurance company is more likely to contest the case since it is more expensive. In this case, working with a workers’ comp attorney may be beneficial.
Your Insurance Company Won’t Pay For Treatment Your Doctor Recommends
If your doctor recommends certain types of treatment, the insurance company may contest it by saying it isn’t necessary. If your doctor recommends treatment that the insurance carrier denies, consider hiring an attorney.
The Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
It is common practice for insurance companies to completely deny workers’ compensation claims. This means that you will need to appeal the decision and find ways to prove that your claim is real. The process is often quite complicated, so it is better to have a workers’ comp attorney on your side.
The Insurance Company Offers You Less Than You Deserve
Even when an insurance company offers you a settlement, it will often try to lowball you. The right settlement not only covers your lost wages but your medical bills as well.
You Have a Preexisting Condition
If you have a preexisting condition that already causes you problems, many insurance companies will try to blame any new pain on the preexisting condition. This means you’ll need a workers’ comp lawyer to work on your side.
Your Employer Retaliates
If you file a workers’ comp claim and suddenly find yourself demoted, working fewer hours, or even fired, then your lawyer can assist you.
You Plan To File For Social Security Disability Benefits
If your injury was serious enough that you need to apply for social security disability benefits, you need an attorney on your side. Without one, it is possible that your workers’ comp benefits may cause a reduction in your SSDI benefits.
You Have a Third-Party Claim
Sometimes, you find that you need to go outside of the workers’ comp system and file a lawsuit. If this occurs because something or someone other than your employer caused the injury, you will need an experienced attorney to work on your behalf.
What To Look For When Hiring a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
When it comes to hiring the right workers comp attorney, you need to know what to look for and what to avoid. Overall, the right attorney will have plenty of experience and not make outlandish promises, but there’s more to it than that.
An Attorney’s Experience
Workers compensation cases can be quite complicated, so it is important to choose an attorney who has past experience with cases similar to yours. A lawyer with the right experience can guide you through the workers comp process, answer your questions, and represent you in court should the need arise.
An Attorney’s Ability To Communicate
Communication is essential any time that you need to work with a lawyer, but it is perhaps even more important when your situation is a workers comp case. When seeking a workers comp attorney, look for someone who makes you feel comfortable.
You should be able to communicate about your case, ask questions, and rely on your attorney to clarify things that you don’t understand about the case. If an attorney is so busy that he or she doesn’t get back to you for days or even weeks at a time, it is a good idea to look for a new lawyer.
Consider how the lawyer communicates as well. Do you retain information better via email? If so, avoid attorneys who prefer to talk on the phone instead. A good attorney will communicate without making you feel as if he or she feels negative about communicating to you.
An Attorney’s Education and Licensing
When did your attorney graduate? Did he or she go to a reputable law school? The right attorney will have a degree from an accredited law school and will be able to provide you with his or her license number. The number proves that your workers’ comp lawyer is legally able to practice law in New York.
An Attorney’s Word-of-Mouth Reputation
While it is important to look into a potential attorney’s education, licensing, and online reputation, the best thing you can do is consider what you have heard about him or her via your community.
Ask your family members, friends, and even your neighbors whether they’ve used an attorney that you are considering and how good or bad their experience was. Focus first on people who you know have been in a similar situation, if possible.
Ask whether they were satisfied with the communication, overall experience, and the outcome of their case. If you don’t know anyone in person who has been in a similar situation, consider asking around on your social media accounts.
Schedule a Consultation With New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Did you receive an injury on the job? Is your employer’s insurance company claiming the injury didn’t happen on the job? Regardless of your situation, the attorneys at Pyrros & Serres are ready to help injured workers.
Our experienced workers’ comp attorneys work with people who experience construction site injuries, pulling or lifting injuries, repetitive motion injuries, joint injuries, and much more. If you are ready to hire professionals who work hard to help you get the compensation you deserve, then contact us for a free consultation.
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