When an employee suffers an injury in the workplace, in addition to the physical pain and emotional distress, they also often encounter financial problems.
Treatment for the injury can result in high medical bills, and a serious injury may make the employee unable to work for an extended amount of time, resulting in lost wages. A debilitating injury may even affect the employee’s ability to work and earn income in the future.
A serious injury affects not only the employee, but also the entire family. The employee’s family is placed in financial distress, and family members may have to help pick up the pieces for the injured employee, taking on extra work to compensate for lost income.
Fortunately, in New York employees injured in the workplace are eligible to receive compensation for financial damages through the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, recovering the full benefits of workers’ compensation can be a difficult undertaking, particularly if you are in the midst of recovering from an injury.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, it’s important to know your rights and be familiar with the workers’ compensation system. It may also be advisable to consult with New York workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure that you are getting the compensation your family deserves.
New York Workers’ Compensation Law
Under New York state law, all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This means that if an employee is hurt on the job, the employer is required to pay workers’ compensation benefits, which are generally covered by insurance.
Workers’ compensation benefits include medical care, temporary disability, permanent disability, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits to immediate family members of an employee who suffers a fatal injury on the job.
However, in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must follow certain procedures after your injury. As soon as possible after the accident, report the injury to your employer, and seek immediate medical treatment. Also make sure to inform your medical caregivers that your injury was job-related so that everything can be appropriately documented.
Types of Workers’ Comp Settlements in New York
In New York, there are two types of workers’ compensation settlements:
Stipulation Agreement. If the insurance company is in agreement regarding the severity of your injury and how much workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to, you will enter into a stipulation agreement, confirming the amount of compensation that you will receive. Benefits of a stipulation agreement are typically paid weekly. A stipulation agreement can also be modified should your circumstances change.
Section 32 Settlement. This is an agreement to close out your workers’ comp claim in exchange for a financial settlement, which is usually paid out in a lump sum. A section 32 settlement is much more final, and can only be modified within 10 days of signing, even if your condition worsens later.
Pursuing NY Workers’ Compensation Damages
If you are injured on the job in New York, the compensation available to you will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of your accident. If you are pursuing workers’ compensation damages, be sure to thoroughly document the accident and extent of your injuries, as this will be very important in filing your claim.
If you are considering pursuing workers’ compensation damages for your on-the-job injury, we recommend consulting with a New York personal injury attorney. A good personal injury attorney will be experienced in cases similar to yours, and can help evaluate the specifics of your case and ensure that you are receiving the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
Can I Sue My Employer Instead in New York?
Under New York law, injured employees are only eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits to recover financial damages. This means that injured employees are generally barred from filing personal injury lawsuits, which often pay out greater compensation. Workers’ compensation claims cover very finite, direct financial damages, while personal injury claims can recover damages for factors such as pain and suffering.
However, it may be possible to recover damages from parties other than your employer. For example, if a defective product contributed to your accident, you may be able to hold the product’s manufacturer liable for damages.
If New York Workers’ Compensation is Not an Option
Some classes of workers are not covered by worker’s compensation insurance. For example, volunteers and some independent contractors are not covered. If you are not eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may still be able to recover damages for your on-the-job injury.
Depending on your occupation, you may be eligible to receive compensation through other entities. For example, there are specific benefits provided to aviation employees, federal employees, mariners, and coal miners.
Bottom line? If you’re hurt while at work, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to do everything possible to recover compensation so that you can get your life back on track.