It is clear, given the latest report issued by the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School, that New York state needs to step up and make some changes to the workers’ compensation system.
New York State: Below Average Workers’ Comp Benefits & Higher Numbers Of Fatalities
In the report, titled “Time For A Real Look At How The New York State Workers’ Compensation System Treats Workers”, a number of disturbing facts were highlighted, including:
- The state of New York has a minimum weekly benefit of $150. This amount is far below that of neighboring states, which have an average of $339 a week.
- The maximum benefit of $871 is 29th in the country, despite the fact that the cost of living in many areas of New York are some of the highest in the country.
- While insurance profits increased by 92%, the dollar amount of workers’ benefits fell 15% from 2014 – 2017.
- Fatal accidents have risen to the point where the numbers are at the highest in 20 years.
To make matters worse, the majority of injuries that resulted in time off of work were in low-income positions, workers who are already struggling to pay their everyday bills.
The report concluded that if New York implemented several recommendations, the workers’ compensation system could be improved. The authors stated that:
“The report recommends that New York update income replacement benefit payments, improve access to benefits, particularly for low-wage workers, and ensure that businesses responsibly invest in enhancing workplace safety and assisting workers in safely return to work. Additionally, enforcement should be bolstered against the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, a maneuver used by employers to evade paying workers’ compensation premiums.”
Local New York Lawyers Helping Injured Workers Navigate The Workers’ Compensation System
At Markhoff & Mittman our team is entirely focused on supporting those who have been injured in the workplace. We champion worker’s rights and fight aggressively for the maximum payment possible.
If you’ve been hurt on the job our law firm can guide you through the process of filing your initial application. Our legal guidance can be helpful because we are completely aware of all of the common mistakes that can be made on a claim form – mistakes that can result in a denial.
Once a denial has been issued an appeal can be filed. Appeals need to be prepared carefully and will ultimately end up before a judge. By working with our experienced attorneys who know exactly what is needed to win an appeal, you can rest and focus on healing.
What Happens If My Injury Prevents Me From Returning To Work?
If you are unable to work due to either a physical or emotional condition, you may be able to obtain benefits through Social Security.
Until becoming disabled, most New Yorkers associate Social Security with the elderly and retirement, but disability benefits are also available through this program. In order to qualify for these benefits, a worker:
- Must have worked a specific amount of time. Typically this means at least five of the past ten years.
- Must have a physical or emotional condition that prevents them from working.
- Must have medical proof showing that they have this condition and explaining why it prevents them from working.
Even with all of the correct information, obtaining the approval for these benefits is incredibly difficult without legal help. A shocking number of applications are denied and although the case can be brought before an Administrative Law Judge, this process can take nearly two years.
Applicants who have their claims approved may face another issue – an incorrect payment. Our experienced lawyers fight to ensure that our clients get the maximum amount possible. We understand how important these benefits are and that in many cases, it can be a matter of life and death.
Contact us at one of our local law offices today to learn more about how we can assist you or a loved one who has been hurt at work.