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New workers' comp benefits guidelines see strong opposition

Medical professionals and safety and health advocates expressed their opposition to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board's proposed altered guidelines at a recent press conference. Some say that the changes are merely measures for companies to cut costs, with injured employees paying for it in denied benefits. While safety authorities sought improved compensation for injured workers, the new proposal will see workplace injury victims considerably worse off.

According to the new guidelines, only company-assigned physicians may provide care, regardless of their ability to communicate in a language understood by the injured worker. This doctor will have full power to recommend or suspend care and benefits at will. Many life-altering injuries will no longer be compensable, and the levels of coverage for several severe impairments will be slashed significantly.

The existing Schedule Loss of Use awards will also cut the number of disabilities that will qualify for benefits. The safety advocates claim that compensation for legitimate injuries that have been paid under the workers' compensation system for years will no longer be covered. Furthermore, they claim workers will be denied assistance at times in which they are most vulnerable.

It is not clear whether the calls for the withdrawal of the New York State Workers' Compensation Board's proposed new guidelines will be successful. In the future, injured workers might have to rely more and more on the skills of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to fight for their rights to benefits. No worker should be denied fair compensation after suffering a workplace injury.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "NY Workplace Safety And Health Advocates Demand Workers' Comp Board Withdraw Proposed Cuts To Protections And Benefits", Sept. 27, 2017

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