Before there was workers’ compensation, when a worker was injured in a work-related accident or when they became ill because of an occupational disease, they had to file a lawsuit against their employer.
In order to prevail in court, the injured worker would have to prove that their employer was negligent – this was not an easy or a quick task. Today’s workers’ compensation system is far better than the old method where workers had to file lawsuits against their employers and courts would “question” the worker’s own degree of negligence.
Today, if a covered employee is injured on the job, he or she can collect workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault, unless the employer was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
If you were recently injured on the job, you don’t have to worry about your own level of fault, nor do you have to be concerned about proving your employer’s negligence. All that matters is you were hurt on-the-job, during the course of your employment, or you suffer from an occupational disease.
STEPS TO TAKE AFTER A WORK INJURY
If you are injured on the job, you need to follow a series of simple steps:
- Obtain medical treatment: If it was an emergency situation, call 911 and go to the nearest hospital. If it’s not a medical emergency, you need to obtain the necessary first aid or medical treatment, but it has to be from a healthcare provider who is authorized by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. If your employer participates in a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or an Alternate Dispute Resolution Program (ADR), then you may have to obtain your medical treatment from a “participating” doctor.
- Notify your supervisor or manager ASAP: Whenever you are injured on the job, we encourage notifying your manager or supervisor as soon as possible. By law, you are required to provide your employer with written notice within 30 days of the accident, but we suggest doing it much sooner. On the other hand, if you have an occupational disease, you are required to notify your employer within two years of becoming disabled, or within two years of finding out that your disease is work-related, whichever comes later. If you do not file a claim within these limits, you could lose your right to benefits permanently.
- Contact a workers’ compensation attorney: As soon as possible, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer. An attorney can ensure that your rights are protected, that you follow the proper protocol, and they can look to see if you also have a third party claim, which would mean additional compensation.
- Follow your doctor’s directions: Listen to your doctor! Follow your doctor’s orders and don’t try to push yourself before you are ready. If you jump back into exercise or activity too soon, it could cause your healing to be delayed.
- Have the Independent Medical Examination: You may be required to have an Independent Medical Examination. If that’s the case, make sure that you have this exam done promptly.
- Return to work when you’re physically able: When you are physically able, return back to work, but be careful about returning too soon.
- Attend any required hearings: If any hearings are scheduled for your case, it’s important that you attend them and you are not late. If you have any hearings, you will receive a notice stating that you are requested to appear.
Looking for a New York workers’ compensation attorney to help you file a claim? Contact Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman to schedule a free consultation with an experienced member of our legal team!