Queens Workers' Compensation Lawyer
When you go to work, you expect to leave with a paycheck, not a ton of medical bills. Even in jobs that don’t require a lot of physical stress, you can still face injury in the workplace. Injury or illness can result from work even when there is no particular event that causes it; prolonged exposure to certain chemicals or repetitive stress injuries can also occur from work.
If you have been injured working in Queens, NY, call Sullivan and Galleshaw, LLP. Sullivan and Galleshaw can help you file a workers’ compensation claim, fight a denied claim, or sue your employer outside the workers’ comp system. Call (718) 843-0300 for a consultation.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Each state (and the federal government) has its own workers’ compensation program. The goal of workers’ compensation is to avoid making every injured worker go to court, hire a lawyer, and prove their employer’s fault in order to get compensation for work-related injuries. Under workers’ comp, you do not need to sue your employer, but you can still get compensation for your injuries.
In order to get compensation, you do not need to show that anyone was at fault in order to get compensation, just that the injury or condition was work-related. Usually, in a court case, you need to demonstrate that the other party (here, your employer) was at fault before you can recover money from them. Workers’ comp allows injured employees to recover damages without having to prove negligence, or even when they are partly responsible for the injuries.
Workers’ compensation programs do not cover the following injuries:
- Injuries that are not work-related
- Self-inflicted injuries (or injuries from a fight you started)
- Injury sustained due to using drugs or alcohol on the job
- Injury sustained while committing a crime
- Injuries sustained while violating company policy
The company policy exception can be a broad, flexible exemption that bars workers’ comp recovery. Additionally, New York’s state workers’ comp does not cover certain employees, like railroad workers, longshoreman, or federal employees (like postal workers); they should use the federal workers’ comp system. No workers’ compensation program covers the self-employed, employers, or private contractors; they need to seek other avenues for compensation.
Common On-The-Job Injuries in Queens, NY
A workplace injury can occur at virtually any company. However, there are a few professions where employees are at a substantially higher risk of being injured while working. For example, an employee at an industrial plant in Queens has the potential to be exposed to a number of toxic chemicals than an office employee will not have to deal with. For people that work in high-risk jobs, workers’ compensation is vital.
The following is a list of common on the job accidents in Queens that could seriously injure an employee.
Construction sites are some of the most dangerous areas for workers. One dangerous aspect of construction work is when workers have to work from great heights. For example, working on scaffolding or atop high buildings could result in a worker losing their balance and falling to suffer severe injury. Other common accidents that can occur at a construction site include falling objects, electrocution accidents, and slip and fall accidents.
As mentioned, industrial plants often house a number of toxic or flammable chemicals that could cause injury to employees if ignited. For example, if a flammable substance is accidentally ignited, workers in the vicinity of the accident could suffer severe burns or even loss of vision and sight if an explosion occurs.
Machinery accidents are also a common occurrence at industrial plants. If machinery malfunctions or an employee is inexperienced in how to operate certain equipment, this could be dangerous for other employees. For example, if a worker fails to operate a forklift properly, they could drop materials on an employee or pin them in tight spaces with the vehicle.
There are many other causes of on the job accidents that have not been listed above. If you are unclear about what steps to take after a workplace accident, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Queens workers’ compensation attorney.
Other Ways to Recover Damages
If you are denied workers’ compensation, or you are a private contractor that is ineligible to receive workers’ comp, you might need to pursue other options for recovery. Unfortunately, without the workers’ comp program to speed your recovery, this could take some time. But, in exchange, there may be more compensation available.
Depending on the type of injury and necessary costs of recovery, your own medical insurance or insurance that your business carries might be enough to get you better. An experienced attorney can help make sure that those insurance companies pay your due benefits.
If your injury causes a long-term disability, you may be able to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is a federal program from the Social Security Administration that helps provide replacement wages to people who are too severely injured to work. This has its own administrative process and time requirements, and is also complicated enough that hiring an attorney might be a necessary move to ensure your claim is processed correctly.
If, in any workplace injury, you were injured because of the intentional actions of another employee or your employer, you may be entitled to damages on a theory of intentional harm. In this case, you are not required to use the workers’ comp system, and could pursue a standard lawsuit.
If a worker chooses to file a personal injury lawsuit in Queens, they should be aware their claim is subject to the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations determines the length of time permitted to file a particular claim.
In New York, the majority of personal injury lawsuits have a three-year filing deadline. This means that if a claimant does not file their injury claim within three years, they will not have the right to have their case heard in court. As a claimant only can typically choose between two options, learning about the advantages of each option from an experienced attorney would be wise.
FAQ Queens Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Suffering a workplace injury can be disorienting and upsetting. It can be difficult to know what you need to do in order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, and you likely have many different questions. Our Queens workers’ compensation lawyers routinely receive a wide range of inquiries about work injury cases and compensation options. The following are frequently asked questions (FAQs) we often hear, along with our responses.
Q: What Steps Should I Take Immediately After a Workplace Accident?
A: You should do your best to document the scene where your workplace accident happened. If you are able to do so, take photographs. In addition, identify any co-workers or other third parties who may have witnessed the accident. This information will be important for your workers’ compensation claim. In addition, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Q: How Much Time Do I Have to Notify My Employer of My Injury?
A: The New York Workers’ Compensation Board clarifies that you must notify your employer of your injury within 30 days, but ideally as soon as possible. If you wait more than 30 days to notify your employer of your injury, you may become ineligible for workers’ compensation coverage.
Q: What Forms Do I Need to File for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A: You must file an Employee Claim form, known as a Form C-3 with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. This form must be filed within two years from the date of your accident, or the date that you learned about an occupational disease.
Q: Do I Need to Obtain Prior Authorization for Medical Care?
A: Generally speaking, no. However, you may need authorization to see certain types of specialists or to receive certain types of procedures.
Q: Can I Obtain Compensation for an Occupational Disease?
A: According to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board, the term “occupational diseases” means “any illness or condition associated with a particular occupation or industry,” and occupational diseases can include conditions that occur over time as a result of exposures or actions in the workplace, such as asbestosis or carpal tunnel syndrome. The New York Workers’ Compensation Board makes clear that occupational diseases are compensable through the workers’ compensation system in the state, and “if you are disabled by a work-related occupational disease, you will receive the same benefits that you would receive if you were disabled by an on-the-job injury.”
Q: Can I File a Lawsuit After My Work Injury?
A: For most workplace injuries, workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy. What this means is that the injured worker can only obtain compensation by filing a workers’ compensation claim and cannot obtain compensation by suing an employer for negligence. However, there are some important exceptions to know about. For workplace injuries caused by a third party (such as the maker of a defective workplace tool that caused your injury, or a motorist who caused a car accident while you were working), you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against that third party. In addition, under New York Labor Law, injured construction workers may be able to sue their employers for negligence.
A Queens On The Job Injury Lawyer Can Help Understand What Compensation is Available
Under the workers’ comp system, the only compensation available is for medical bills, lost wages, or death benefits. Since workers’ comp is ultimately paid for by an insurance company, its benefits work like medical insurance in the case of paying for medical care, disability insurance in the case of covering lost wages, or life insurance should an employee die on the job. No matter what, these are usually limited in some way. For instance, you may be required to use your employer’s insurance company’s doctor of choice rather than your own doctor of choice. Additionally, replacement wages from workers’ comp are usually limited to 2/3 of your normal wage.
If you go outside the workers’ compensation system, either because you are not covered by workers’ comp or due to intentional actions, then you may recover full lost wages, reasonable and foreseeable medical expenses with your doctor of choice, damages for pain and suffering, and possibly even additional damages to punish especially bad action.
If you have been injured at work or suffer from illness due to your work conditions, call Sullivan and Galleshaw, LLP. We handle workers’ comp and workplace injury cases in Queens and throughout New York City. For a free consultation, call us at (718) 843-0300.
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