In New York, Workers’ Compensation is governed by the Workers’ Compensation Board, which is a state agency that makes sure the system functions properly. The Board oversees claims and disputes, ensures employers are properly insured, and sees to it that injured workers are compensated.
In general, Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance that all employers in New York, with a few exceptions, must carry in order to cover injuries and illnesses that occur on the job. It is meant to cover medical expenses and lost wages due to injury, in order to alleviate these costs for workers. Employers have to pay for the insurance themselves, and the expense for it cannot be passed on to the workers of the company.
When someone is injured at the workplace, they must notify their employer immediately, and in writing within 30 days, and file a claim with the Board. Once this is done, then a medical report must be filed, and the insurer is notified and has a short time to either pay the claim or dispute it. If the claim is paid, then little additional action is necessary, though if it is disputed then the claimant and the insurer will have to try to work with the Board to settle the issue, otherwise it goes to a judge.
One of the real strengths of Workers’ Compensation is that there is no question of liability or fault. This means that even if someone is at fault for injuring himself or herself, as long as no drugs or alcohol were involved, they can still file a claim for coverage. The employer does not need to be at fault, and blame has no impact on how much is paid to the claimant. It is not a punitive measure at all; instead it is merely meant to offset expenses for workers and employers alike.
It is important to note that Workers’ Compensation is completely separate from any sort of civil suit a person might file if an employer was liable for an injury that they suffered. For example, if an employer is negligent about a slip and fall hazard, and an employee is injured because of it, then the employee can file for Workers’ Compensation. In addition to that, the employee could file a civil suit against the employer due to the negligence that caused the injury.
While the Workers’ Compensation system is designed to help workers, it can still be a complicated process. Additional issues, such as an insurer disputing a claim, can result in even more hassles and paperwork. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, we can help you understand your rights and explain the process each step of the way. Call us at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP today at (212) 986-7353.