Cuts and scrapes heal with time. But not every injury and illness resolves itself as quickly as these minor examples. When employees become victims of workplace accidents, the resulting damage can affect them for the rest of their lives.
When a worker is injured on the job, he or she may generally seek compensation associated with the injury in two ways. First, a workers' compensation claim may be filed. Second, a personal injury suit may be filed if negligence on behalf of the employer or related parties contributed to the injury. However, the New York Court of Appeals recently narrowed the instances in which a worker can pursue both kinds of claims.
There are many levels to the workers' compensation system in New York, and fraud is a possibility at any one of them. Most commonly, workers' comp fraud is thought of as a worker issue; an employee may file a claim for an injury that did not occur at work, misrepresent his or her work status when questioned about it directly or otherwise knowingly lie about a fact related to their claim.
The basic idea of a state workers' compensation system like New York's is that work injuries and occupational diseases are covered by workers' compensation benefits paid by employers or their insurance companies. Claims are paid regardless of whose fault the accidents or diseases result from, in exchange for elimination (with a few rare exceptions) of workers' rights to recover through lawsuits.
Increasing doses of opioid medications to treat pain associated with injury are being blamed for an increase in addiction and overdose. Between 55 to 85 percent of those suffering from problems related to pain medication are also workers who were injured on the job.
The New York Court of Appeals recently issued six rulings in the same day, answering an important question for many injured New York workers. The court found that private insurers must pay money into trust funds in certain workers' compensation cases.
According to recent study, the total number of disability and workers' compensation claims has not changed drastically, despite a weak economy - and costs associated with disability and workers' compensation claims has only risen slightly.
Labor leaders are concerned that treatment guidelines recently passed by New York's Workers' Compensation Board will put at risk the insurance of thousands of retirees and workers. Specifically, the new guidelines limit coverage to treatments that produce "functional improvement," which labor leaders argue will exclude those with long-term chronic pain conditions.
The ceiling for workers' comp benefits is on the rise in New York. Weekly benefit payouts could potentially increase for thousands of workers' compensation claimants. The benefit increase is part of an adjustment that NY regulators consider each year. This is welcomed news, as adjustments are needed frequently to accommodate inflation and the rising cost of living for New Yorkers.
A spring crackdown on fraudulent workers' compensation claims has resulted in the arrest of 13 New Yorkers. The arrests were made after joint investigations by the New York State Insurance Department's Frauds Bureau, the Workers' Compensation Board Office of the Fraud Inspector General, the New York State Insurance Fund, insurance companies and local law enforcement agencies.