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Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What should I know about rehabilitation through workers' comp?

A New York State worker who suffers workplace injuries or an occupational disease should know about the workers' compensation benefits that may be available to him or her. The extent of these benefits can run the gamut from people who are completely unable to work to those who will eventually recover completely and have no limitations on their abilities. Many cases fall somewhere within those parameters and it is important to understand how various factors are considered in a case. If a worker can benefit from rehabilitation, this is a key part of a workers' compensation claim.

When a worker's health or condition can improve through rehabilitation, this can be very useful and important. Through rehabilitative programs, services seek to eliminate the condition that prevents an individual working. In addition, rehabilitation programs might maximize health improvement, allow the person get back to work when he or she can, or give assistance to work and live. There are many health professionals who are on staff for the Workers' Compensation Board to help a worker. They include social workers, counselors, physical therapists, rehabilitation therapists, consultant psychiatrists, and others.

Social services help available through workers' compensation

When a New York worker suffers workplace injuries or a condition that hinders the ability to work, workers' compensation benefits are just part of the story with getting back on the right track medically, personally and professionally. Other issues will inevitably arise with lost wages and medical expenses even if the workers' compensation benefits are approved.

The Workers' Compensation Board accounts for the ancillary type of help that a person might need by providing social services. Knowing that this is available and using it can be part of a workers' compensation claim. If there are problems getting the available services, a law firm experienced in workers' compensation can help. Social workers can be of assistance in myriad ways. If there are issues at home due to financial struggles and concerns about the future, the social worker can help the family to grasp the changes that are taking place and adjust to them. Referrals can be made should the social worker not have the capability to effectively solve the relevant problems.

What classifies workers as "employees" for workers' compensation?

There are situations at certain jobs in New York in which it is not clear that a worker is classified as an "employee" and therefore eligible for workers' compensation. Oftentimes, this is linked to people working as "contractors." Knowing what factors are used to determine whether a worker is an employee under the workers' compensation law is imperative when there is an injury and the chance to get benefits is in question.

The employer's right to control over the worker is key. If the employer controls how the work is done, it is indicative that the work is done by an employee instead of a contractor. If a worker who performs the labor is in control of the time and way it is done, it might show that the person is an independent contractor. An independent contractor will work with his or her operating permit, under contract or authority. If the character of the work being done is that same as the employer and it is consistent with work done at the job, the worker can be considered an employee. If the work is different, the worker could be viewed as an independent contractor.

Worker seriously injured in forklift accident

Operating heavy machinery comes with serious responsibilities. Improper instructions or lack of training could potentially lead to a dangerous situation. An independent contractor for Sears experienced this firsthand when he was struck from behind by a forklift. The machine landed on his ankle, resulting in permanent injury.

Workers' compensation for toxic exposure

There are many jobs in New York that require workers to be around dangerous substances. When taking the job, workers will undoubtedly understand this. However, no one is expecting there to be a workplace accident and toxic exposure. The issues that can accompany this type of incident can be more problematic and worrisome than an accident where there are broken bones, cuts and other physical injuries. Hazardous materials can be terrifying when there is an accident. Those who were injured or made ill because of being exposed to hazardous materials should know they probably have the right to workers' compensation.

With toxic exposure, some cases can be difficult to maximize benefits. It can even be hard to get the workers' compensation approved at all. With toxic exposure, since the aftereffects and issues that accompany it can vary so widely, the insurer is prone to balking at paying anything more than the bare minimum. Oftentimes, the extent of the damage might not be realized for days, weeks and even months after the accident.

Can you get disability if it was not a workplace accident?

Workers in New York who suffer an injury or illness on the job will generally be able to get workers' compensation benefits. This is essential for people who cannot work and need payments to make ends meet and to cover medical expenses. What they might not know is that they can also get disability benefits if the injury or illness took place off the job. This is under the umbrella of the Workers' Compensation Board. Understanding what benefits are available if they were injured off the job and how to go about getting them is critical to the process.

Since most employers are required to have disability insurance, workers who became injured or ill off the job can receive temporary cash benefits if their issues stop them from working. For cash, the worker will get half their average weekly wages with a maximum of $170 weekly. This is based on what they earned in the previous eight weeks until the final day they worked before being injured or getting ill. There will be Social Security taxes on these benefits.

Construction accidents in New York are on the rise

Throughout New York, construction is seemingly constant. This is a positive as it provides jobs and other benefits. However, concerns about safety are ever-present and one of the most dangerous jobs that anyone can do is in construction. With the heavy machinery, working on scaffolds and ladders at great heights, and the large tools that are inherent with construction work, a construction worker accident can happen for a variety of reasons. Research has found that the number of construction accidents have been rising in a worrisome fashion.

In New York City, there has been a rise in construction injuries and fatalities. Injuries have increased by 17 percent; fatalities have doubled. Through July, there were eight construction-related fatalities to workers. In 2017, in that same amount of time, there were four deaths. Regarding injuries, the first seven months of the year had 457 job-related accidents and 469 injuries.

Work zone injuries a rising problem in New York

When thinking about construction accidents and the dangers that a construction worker might face in New York, the immediate thought turns to constructing tall buildings, working on a roof, being stationed at great heights and dealing with heavy machinery. However, road workers who are doing necessary construction to build, maintain and repair the state's infrastructure are in substantial jeopardy of being in an accident - perhaps more than other construction workers. Needing to navigate roadwork with drivers who might not pay attention to the dangers can lead to a construction worker accident and injuries. It can even cause death. Those who have been hurt must remember they are likely entitled to workers' compensation.

According to the statistics, there were almost 700 accidents in construction zones in New York in 2017. Distracted driving is believed to have been a cause in a significant number of them. Although the New York State Department of Transportation is entreating drivers to pay close attention to the road as they are supposed to, there are seemingly endless anecdotes from workers about drivers who are not watching what they are doing and are therefore placing workers at risk.

How does workers' compensation cover Schedule Loss of Use?

Workers in New York who suffer workplace injuries should understand the different categories of loss their issues might fall into. Every workplace accident is different and can impact a person in a variety of ways. Depending on the circumstances, the workers' compensation benefits can change. There can even be more benefits. Understanding these factors is imperative to a workers' compensation case, especially when there is disagreement or an outright dispute. This is specifically true in cases where there is a Schedule Loss of Use.

With Schedule Loss of Use, referred to as SLU, the injured worker will receive more cash than would otherwise be provided under workers' compensation. When the worker has suffered an injury that diminishes the ability to use a body part and he or she cannot return to the previous level of use, it is a permanent disability. Then there might be eligibility to get SLU. The worker can get this payment regardless of whether work time was missed or if there was a return to work.

Managing a repetitive strain injury

When you imagine a person applying for workers’ compensation, you most likely imagine someone who works on a construction site. While jobs that require a lot of physical labor do cause injuries from time to time, more sedentary vocations like office work can also cause painful injuries that may put you on medical leave.

As someone who does most of their work at a computer desk, it’s unlikely that you will fall off a roof while on the job. The office sector sees many more repetitive strain type injuries. According to Medical News Today, these injuries can be the result of repetitive tasks or awkward body positioning and may be worsened by stress and fatigue.

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