In 2012, nearly 3,000,000 private industry workers were injured or contracted an illness, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When employees suffer from a work-related injury or illness, they are legally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under New York state law.
Unfortunately, many cases go awry and because some workers are misinformed or ill-advised, they do not get their cases successfully resolved. There are several myths about NYS workers’ compensation that need to be dispelled for employees’ sake, as discussed below.
Myth #1: I didn’t report my injury right away, so it’s too late.
Yes, it’s advisable that you report your injury straightaway, but you actually have up to 30 days to submit a written report of your injury. Still, notify your supervisor of the injury as soon as possible and be sure to submit your written notice on time.
Some work-related illnesses are delayed onset or progressive in nature, which changes matters. You have two years from the time you discovered, or should have reasonably discovered, an occupational illness to report it to your employer.
Myth #2: You have to see a company doctor.
In New York, a workers’ comp insurer may contract with a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). However, you have the right to choose your own physician after the initial 30-day period. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board explains: “An injured worker is required to seek initial treatment with a provider affiliated with the PPO however, after initial treatment, he/she may select any authorized provider outside the PPO 30 days after the initial treatment.”
If your employer tries to force you to stay with the company insurance doctor, contact an attorney.
Myth #3: You can sue your employer.
You cannot sue your employer for damages. Workers’ compensation is a system that not only protects workers should they become injured at work, but also protects employers from liability lawsuits.
That being said, if there was third party partly responsible for your accident, such as a manufacturer or property owner, you may be eligible to file a third-party claim to recover additional damages.
Myth #4: Your claim was denied, so you are out of luck.
Many claims are wrongly denied; some accidentally, and some because of stingy or unscrupulous insurance tactics. In any event, if you are wrongly denied, there is an appeals process you can follow. With the right legal counsel and a strong case, you can still fight for and obtain your benefits.
Myth #5: You don’t need an attorney.
Some workers mistakenly believe they can handle their claim on their own. Consider your employer and your employer’s insurance company. They both have lawyers working on their behalf who are adept at helping their clients avoid paying benefits.
Thus, it benefits many injured workers to have an attorney of their own working on their behalf to provide legal counsel and representation.
Consulting a Workers’ Comp Attorney
We welcome you to call on our workers’ comp attorneys at Markhoff & Mittman for counsel if you are in New York City or the surrounding areas. Contact us to schedule a free consultation, and let us help you get the benefits to which you’re entitled. Call 866-205-2415 or 866-205-2415 today.