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Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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.

What should I know about workers' comp for occupational disease?

New York State workers who suffer from an occupational disease should know that they can get workers' compensation benefits, just as a worker who suffered a physical injury can. However, it is imperative to understand that there are certain differences to consider when seeking those benefits. With an occupational disease, it must be an issue that has come about because of exposure to certain conditions on the job. It is vital to remember that the disease is required to have been produced naturally from the occupation itself.

The workers' compensation benefits for an occupational disease are the same as they are for someone who was injured on the job. There is a different time limit when deciding to file the claim. It must be the later date of the following: two years from the date at which the disability came about; or two years from when the disabled worker knew or should have known that the disease came about because of the employment. The time limits are the same for family members if the worker has died. There can be a finding of disability if the person became ill and did not miss any work. A Workers' Compensation Law Judge will decide on the date at which the person became disabled.

What if my New York workers' compensation claim is controverted?

People who are injured in a workplace accident will expect that their workers' compensation claim will be approved, and they will receive the benefits they are entitled to for treatment and wage coverage as they try to recover. However, not all cases are immediately accepted at face value by the insurance company, and they will controvert a claim. When a claim is controverted (denied) and the worker has legitimate injuries stemming from the work he or she was doing, it is important to know when this might take place and what to do about it.

There are many reasons why the insurer can controvert the claim. They might say that the injury did not happen due to work, the employee's injuries are being exaggerated, the injuries happened on a second job and more. It is also possible that the employer will request that the insurance company controvert the employee's claim. Still, it is ultimately at the discretion of the employer as the insurer has responsibility for the claim's liability. It does not need to adhere to such a request from the employer.

Workers investigating gas leak suffer burns in workplace accident

Keeping New York State running effectively and efficiently requires workers performing maintenance, repairs and construction. While these workers are generally competent and do their jobs safely, there remains an inherent danger in any task they are required to do. This is especially true when working with electrical and explosive materials. Those who are in an accident in these circumstances can face burns and other types of on-the-job injury. With the medical expenses and long-term damage that can result, workers' compensation and a legal filing are often the only available ways to cover what they lost.

An explosion led to three utility workers being burned. A gas leak is believed to have been the cause. The incident occurred in the early morning hours at around 1 a.m. The workers are employed by National Grid. After the explosion, the men were taken to the hospital for treatment. They were said to have minor burns. A spokesperson for the company stated that the workers were there to investigate a potential gas leak. As they dug, there was a spark and the subsequent explosion. Work in the area is ongoing to determine the source of the gas leak.

Tractor trailer rollovers and workers' compensation

Most understand that when you get an injury at work you are eligible for workers' compensation benefits. People are less sure of that when it comes to injuries that happen when working from home or traveling for work. This begs the question: are you eligible for workers' compensation if you get an injury while working outside your workplace?

On June 18, a tractor trailer driver was killed when his truck rolled over crossing a bridge near Schuyler, New York. This accident can serve as an example of how workers' compensation covers accidents outside the workplace.

What are disability classifications for workers' compensation?

Suffering workplace injuries in New York can cause concern for the worker and his or her family. The missed time on the job, lost wages, medical costs and uncertain future will inevitably lead to the worker seeking workers' compensation to provide for them as they recover. If they are unable to recover, workers' compensation benefits can help with that too.

However, workers are often unaware of the different disability classifications in which their injuries are placed. Knowing these classifications and how it can affect their workers' compensation benefits is important in a claim and knowing how to proceed. The classifications are: Temporary Total Disability; Temporary Partial Disability; Permanent Total Disability; Permanent Partial Disability, Non-schedule Loss; Permanent Partial Disability, Schedule Loss; and Disfigurement.

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