At Ouimette, Goldstein & Andrews, LLP, our practice is focused on the rights of injured workers.

Offices in Poughkeepsie, Middletown, Newburgh, and West Nyack.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation is essentially broken down into two types of benefits:  medical benefits and indemnity benefits.  In regards to indemnity benefits, an individual is entitled to awards when their medical condition causes them to lose time from work, or has a reduction in earnings.  Further, an individual may be entitled to awards when they have a permanent condition.

In New York State, when an individual loses time from work due to an injury, they are generally entitled to two-thirds their average weekly wage, to a maximum rate per week depending upon the date of their injury.  An individual that loses time from work for any type of injury, such as injuries to the back (lumbar/thoracic), neck (cervical), head/brain, extremities, knees, feet, hips, hands, elbows, shoulders, is entitled to benefits for their lost time.  Additionally, injuries to other parts of the body, or injuries due to exposure to lungs, hearing loss, visual loss, tinnitus, or chronic painful conditions, or any type of medical condition that arises out of their work, entitles the injured party to benefits for lost time or lost wages.

If an individual is injured on the job, they should report the injury immediately to their employer, or must, by law, give written notice to their employer within 30 days.

There are different types of injuries.  There are injuries that occur as a result of an accident on the job.  For these injuries, notice must be given by the injured worker to the employer within 30 days.  However, notice should be given immediately in order to start the claim properly.

Injuries are also caused by the occupation, and not necessarily an accident.  For example, workers sometimes sustain injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, due to repetitive use of their hands.  In these cases, notice must be given to the employer within 30 days of when the individual knew, or should have known, that their injury was work related.

There are many different types of workers’ compensation injuries.  These are injuries that involve injuries to the neck, back, head, loss of use of the arms, legs, knees, hips, fractures, broken bones, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, brain damage, repetitive stress injuries, pulmonary injuries, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

Individuals have a right to medical care.  Medical care is important because it documents the injury.  When an individual has an accident, they should see a doctor on a regular basis from every one to three months.  Lifetime medical care is covered for any injury sustained while working.

There are also benefits for an individual’s family, or dependents, when the workplace causes the death of a worker.  The Estate is entitled to death benefits whether there are dependents, such as a spouse or children, or if there were no dependents at all.  The insurance company is also responsible for any burial costs up to certain limits, depending upon the county the decedent lived in.

We can help your family whether the death or injuries are sustained as a result of motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, scaffolding accidents, slip and fall accidents, or any other type of accident.

There have been certain changes in the Workers’ Compensation Law.  For injuries prior to 2007, an individual with a permanent partial or permanent total disability was entitled to weekly benefits indefinitely into the future.  The maximum benefit that an individual could receive for an injury sustained prior to March 2007 was $400.00 per week.  As of July 1, 2007, the maximum benefit is $500.00.  As of July 2008, the maximum benefit is $550.00 a week.  As of July 2009, the maximum benefit is $600.00 a week.  As of July 2010, the maximum benefit is $772.00 per week.  The future maximum average weekly wage is re-indexed every year to the state average weekly wage on July 1st.  For injuries sustained after March 13, 2007, an individual may have a cap on how long they can receive their benefits.  This is why it is important to retain an attorney if you have an injury at work.

This is also why it is important to retain an attorney that can counsel you on other benefits you may be entitled to, such as Social Security Disability Benefits, Supplemental Security Income Benefits, New York State Retirement Disability Benefits, and personal injury law suits from slip and fall accidents, motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, and fatal accidents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should an injured worker do when they are injured on the job?

A: When an individual is injured on the job, the first responsibility is to give notice to the employer.  Second, they should see their doctor as soon after the accident and report all injuries sustained in the accident.  Finally, the injured worker should also seek the advice of an attorney regarding any new accidents they sustain on the job.

Q: How long can I receive my benefits as a result of an injury sustained in an accident at work?

A: An individual who sustains an accident at work is entitled to medical care for those injuries sustained indefinitely into the future.  Additionally, an individual who is injured at work may be entitled to weekly payments indefinitely into the future, but this depends on the type of injury and the severity of the injury.

Q: Am I entitled to an award even if I do not lose time from work?

A: An individual may be entitled to an award for any permanent loss of use of an extremity, such as an arm, a leg, fingers, toes, even if they do not lose any time from work.  An individual may also be entitled to an award if they have a permanent loss of vision, permanent loss of hearing, or any permanent facial disfigurement.

Q: How are attorneys’ fees paid in workers’ compensation cases?

A: In workers’ compensation cases, the injured worker does not pay the attorney directly.  Since the attorney works for the injured worker, any attorney’s fee comes from the award to the injured worker, but is paid by the insurance company.  All fees must approved by the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Q: How do I settle my workers’ compensation case?

A: In all cases, an individual can attempt to settle their workers’ compensation case with the insurance company.  There are different types of settlements.  Generally, an individual will settle the claim for a lump sum of money in exchange for giving up their rights to weekly benefits and medical events.  In another type of settlement, an individual can retain their medical benefit and settle the indemnity portion of their claim.  Regarding cash settlements, as of the new Workers’ Compensation Law of March 13, 2007, insurance carrier are now required to make an offer of settlement to the injured worker within two years of when a claim is filed with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, or within six months of when an individual is found to have a permanent partial disability, whichever is later.

Q:  Is there a time limit on when I must file my workers’ compensation claim?

A:  If an individual sustains an accident at work, the individual must report the incident, in writing, to their employer within 30 days, and a claim must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board within 2 years of the date of accident.

With regard to occupational injuries, a claim must be filed 2 years from the date the injury was known to be related, or should have been known to be related to the work activities.

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