If you experience a workplace injury or become ill as a result of work-related duties, then New York law generally does not permit you to sue your employer. Instead, you must file for Workers’ Compensation benefits. If your claim is approved and your occupational injury or disease leaves you unable to work for more than seven days, then you will receive cash benefits from your employer’s insurance carrier for lost wages in addition to coverage for medical bills.
These disability benefits are calculated to equal two-thirds of your average weekly income, multiplied by the extent/percentage of your disability. You will continue to receive this money until you go back to work or your workers’ compensation case is closed, whichever comes first. If, however, you have been left permanently impaired, you may receive a lifetime disability award. If a disease or injury ends in death, then family members can receive both death benefits and compensation for funeral costs.
What injuries are covered?
Injuries covered by a workers’ compensation claim include broken bones, cuts, burns, and other injuries that require more extensive treatment than first aid. Illnesses known to occur as the result of certain occupations include hearing loss and cancer due to exposure to asbestos or lead.
It is important to note that if you are injured while doing something outside the scope of your employment, such as driving to work, you cannot file for benefits. Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance, meaning that you are covered even if you are partly to blame for the accident (e.g. tripping over an object because you were not looking down). If, however, you were doing something reckless, your claim may be denied, especially if it can be proven that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.
What about additional compensation?
There are exceptions to the restriction on claiming additional compensation for your injuries. If you were hurt or made ill due to gross negligence on the part of your employer or fellow employee, then you might be able to sue them. Other potential exceptions include:
- Your injuries were caused by a defective product
- You were hurt due to the negligent actions of a third party (for example, a truck driver employed by a vendor)
- Your injury was caused by an object falling on you from a scaffold, ladder, or on a construction site
- You are exempt from workers’ compensation by contract
Certain workers are not always covered under the New York workers’ compensation system. They include:
- Agricultural workers
- Independent contractors
- Members of the clergy
These people must pursue alternative means of compensation if injured.
Workers’ compensation laws can be complex, which is why the services of a New York personal injury attorney can mean the difference between a successful and rejected claim. Your attorney can help ensure that all the paperwork is submitted on time, represent you if an appeal turns out to be necessary, and use their expertise and experience to get you the benefits you need after a workplace injury. Contact Jayson Lutzky, P.C. if you have any questions regarding accident or personal injury law. Call 718-514-6619 to set up a free in-person consultation or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com/Accidents.