Getting injured at work is a tough experience. On top of dealing with the injury itself, there’s the added stress of understanding how to properly file for workers’ comp in New York. With so many rules and steps to follow, it’s easy to make mistakes that could cost you the benefits you need. In this guide, we’ll go over the six most common mistakes people make and how you can avoid them, ensuring you get the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Understanding New York Workers’ Comp
At its core, workers’ compensation in New York serves as a safety net for employees, providing essential coverage for medical expenses and wage losses resulting from workplace injuries. Crafted to safeguard both the interests of the workforce and businesses, this system, however, presents intricate pathways that can perplex even the most diligent.
For a worker grappling with not just the immediate physical aftermath of an injury but also the accompanying emotional and financial upheavals, this labyrinth can seem daunting.
With New York’s laws fundamentally geared toward championing injured workers’ rights, having a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer by your side can be invaluable. Yet, it’s essential to recognize the underlying dynamics where insurance providers might be motivated to curtail compensation payouts. As such, arming yourself with knowledge about the system and your entitlements is not just beneficial—it’s pivotal.
In the sections that follow, we’ll shed light on the top six pitfalls that have ensnared countless claimants in New York. By being aware of these common missteps, you stand a robust chance of harnessing the full scope of benefits that workers’ comp can offer.
1. Failing to Report the Injury Promptly
Another common pitfall is not reporting a workplace injury promptly. In New York, you’re required to notify your employer of your injury within 30 days. If you fail to do so, your comp claim may be denied.
To prevent such situations, ensure that you promptly report any workplace injury to your employer and initiate the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can aid you throughout this procedure and guarantee the safeguarding of your rights.
2. Not Seeking Immediate Medical Treatment
One of the most common mistakes injured workers make is not seeking immediate medical treatment. If you’re injured on the job, getting medical care as soon as possible is crucial. Your health is the top priority, and this also establishes a record of your injury, which is essential for your comp case.
Following a work accident, you should also diligently follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Failing to follow the treatment plan or missing appointments can be used by insurance companies to argue that the extent of your injuries is less severe than claimed. A dedicated workers’ comp doctor can help guide your recovery and provide essential documentation for your claim.
3. Not Following Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan
The workers’ compensation board and your employer want to see you make a good faith effort to recover and return to work. That means complying with all treatments and therapy prescribed by the doctor.
Skipping rehab or physical therapy may peg you as uncooperative or unwilling to get better. If you want to get back to full duty, you need to follow the treatment plan diligently.
The insurer can also reduce your benefits if you miss appointments or don’t complete therapies. And if you ignore the doctor’s advice altogether, your claim may be denied for noncompliance.
4. Failing to Accept Light-Duty Work When Offered
Your employer may offer you light or restricted duty work while recovering if your doctor says you can perform it. Refusing such work can actually suspend your workers’ comp payments.
The board believes that if you can do some work safely, you should. Turning down light duty gives the impression you prefer staying home and collecting benefits.
Be sure to get the light-duty restrictions in writing. That way, if your employer tries assigning tasks that exceed those restrictions, you have recourse. With the doctor’s limitations clearly spelled out, you can avoid doing anything that might aggravate your injury.
5. Posting on Social Media About Your Injury
These days, adjusters routinely search social media profiles of injured workers to check for evidence of fraud. Pictures and posts about your activities outside of work can come back to haunt you.
For instance, if you claim you’re bedridden due to a back injury but post Instagram pics playing golf, expect problems. The insurer will argue you must not be that hurt if you can do strenuous activities.
The best advice is to avoid any social media posts about your physical activities while getting benefits. Maintain your privacy settings and refrain from boasting about what you’re able to do. Let your doctor’s progress reports speak for themselves.
6. Failing to Hire an Experienced Workers Comp Attorney
Navigating a New York work injury claim without expert guidance might be one of the most significant oversights you can make. Given the intricate landscape of the system, it’s imperative to harness the expertise of a seasoned firm like O’Connor Law PLLC.
Engaging a proficient workers’ compensation attorney isn’t merely a choice – it’s a game-changer. Such a lawyer delves deep into the subtleties of the system, wielding their knowledge to amplify your entitled benefits.
Be aware: insurers arm themselves with adept legal teams geared to challenge your claims. Having a stalwart legal ally ensures you stand on even ground. Attending hearings or insurer meetings without your attorney is a risk you shouldn’t take.
By relying on a seasoned workers’ comp lawyer, you not only sidestep potential pitfalls but set the stage for achieving the comprehensive benefits the law has earmarked for you.
Remember These Key Points
- Report any work injury promptly to preserve your claim rights.
- Adhere closely to the treatment regimen recommended by your physician.
- Accept light-duty work if within your medical restrictions.
- Avoid social media posts about physical activities while getting benefits.
- Hire a qualified workers’ comp attorney to protect your rights.
Avoiding these common missteps will help you steer clear of issues and get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve under New York law. Don’t jeopardize your work injury claim – be smart and get the compensation you need to recover and get back to work.