Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ CompensationWorkers’ compensation in New York ensures that employees who suffer work-related injuries receive the medical care that is needed for the injury, payment of medical expenses and monetary funds to cover loss of income while being out of work. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning if an injury was caused by someone’s own actions they are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The money a claimant receives is not decreased by their carelessness.

In New York an individual cannot file a lawsuit against the employer for the injuries sustained because workers’ compensation is known as the “exclusive remedy.” This means that workers’ compensation is the only option an individual has to recover for their injuries; unless some other party caused the injuries. However, there is an exception to the rule; if the employer has failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance which is required by law, or the employer intentionally caused the employee’s injuries, the individual is able to file a lawsuit against the employer.

Not only does workers’ compensation cover work related injuries, but it also covers occupational diseases and repetitive stress injuries. Occupational diseases such as lung cancer may occur after being exposed to dangerous substances for an extensive period of time. Repetitive injuries can occur when workers perform the same task everyday. Common repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic back or knee problems that occur from many years of doing the same job day in and day out. These repetitive injuries can cause a great deal of pain and prevent one from doing their job. Remember, you are not required to work in pain.

In order for a claim to be paid out the employer or insurance carrier must agree that the injury is job-related. If a worker is not receiving benefits because the employer or insurance carrier is arguing that the injury is not job-related, then in the meantime the individual may be eligible for disability benefits. However, any payments made under the Disability Program will be subtracted from future workers’ compensation awards.

Even though an employer provides workers’ compensation benefits, if an injury or illness is a result of the actions of a third party, the employee has the right to take suit against the third party. Typically, the third party would be an owner of a building, general contractor, supplier, or individual whose wrongdoing was a cause of an accident or occupational exposure.

A person is still able to collect workers’ compensation benefits under the following circumstances:

  • If you are able to return to work but your injury prevents you from earning the same salary you once did.
  •  If you return to work and need to perform an alternate duty before you are fully healed.

For more information about Workers’ Compensation in New York, visit the Resources page: