Blog 2016


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Workmans Compensation - Falling at Work

Posted On: December 05, 2016

Workplace falls are a major hazard in many occupations, especially in the construction industry. A worker can fall while walking, climbing a ladder, working on a roof or while working 10 or even 80 feet above the ground.

According to 2014 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; 261,930 workers from the private and government sectors missed at least one day of work after being injured in a fall-related accident that was either on the same level, or to a lower level and another 798 workers died after falling.

Of all industries, the construction industry ranked #1 in the number of fall-related fatalities in 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. Meanwhile, the health services, wholesale and retail industries claim the most nonfatal fall-related injuries of all industries combined.

The CDC reports that the workers at the highest risk of a fall-related injury, includes employees who work in:

  • Occupations involving healthcare support
  • Janitorial services
  • Transportation
  • Moving materials
  • Construction
  • Extraction

The annual workers' compensation and medical costs of occupational fall-related injuries is estimated at about $70 billion in the United States, according to the CDC, which is a staggering figure.

While federal regulations and industry standards encourage safety measures for fall prevention, many employers fail to follow safety protocol and in effect, hundreds of thousands of workers sustain fall-related injuries each year.

The best way for companies to successfully reduce fall-related injuries and deaths is to focus on and implement effective fall protection equipment and technologies, and to educate their workforce on fall prevention methods, but too many employers fail to concentrate on these areas.

For more information about our representation capabilities, please contact us today. We will happily answer any questions you may have about your workers' compensation claims.


What To Do If You Need Surgery For A Workers’ Compensation Injury?

Posted On: October 07, 2016

Unfortunately, workers’ compensation injuries are all too common and can lead to further pain, treatment costs and delayed recovery, if you do not get help sooner rather than later. Depending on the extent of your injuries, your physician may recommend surgery for your workers’ comp injury relatively quickly after you have sustained the injury itself. Aside from reporting the injury immediately to your employer, you also need to consult with your own medical professionals about whether or not this surgery is in your best interest.

It can also be extremely frustrating if your physician has made you aware of the fact that surgery is necessary or strongly recommended in your case, but the workers’ compensation insurance has denied the claim. Outpatient surgery paid for by workers’ compensation can be extremely different from one state to another, when looking at states that have fixed fee schedules and lower surgery cost for injured workers. Workers’ compensation costs can also be significantly different for common procedures as it relates to Medicare.

States with no workers’ compensation fee schedules had payments up to 150% higher than the median of states with fixed amount fee schedules. It can be extremely difficult to figure out your next steps if a doctor is recommending surgery, but the workers’ compensation insurance carrier is hesitating to move forward with this. Going forward with surgery may be expensive even if you have qualified health insurance.

Unfortunately, getting approved for workers’ compensation benefits is often more difficult than people realize. Those individuals who have sustained a workplace injury in New York may assume that workers’ compensation benefits will pay out relatively quickly because it is clear that the accident happened on the job. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case. In fact, if the workers’ compensation insurance carrier delays payments of necessary treatments or makes it otherwise difficult for you to be approved for benefits, this can add an additional worry in your life when you already have enough to worry about.

This is why it is strongly recommended that you hire a New York workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible after you have sustained your injury. In an ideal world, your claim would be approved immediately and you would have no challenges with your employer going forward. Sadly, in reality things do not always look this simple or black and white and this is why you need someone advocating for your best interests. Bear in mind that your employer has interests as far as their insurance rates and the insurance company has a reason to deny or minimize all prospective claims. This means that outside of working with an experienced New York workers’ compensation attorney, you don’t have anyone advocating for your best interests.

Consult with one of our Workers' Compensation Attorneys Right Away!

This is why it is recommended that you hire an attorney you can trust as soon as possible after facing a workplace injury or illness. He or she may be able to tell you more about how the process works and the timelines that you can expect as far as waiting to hear back on approval or denial or your claim and what to do in the event that your claim is denied. Hiring the right New York workers’ compensation attorney may have a significant impact on your understanding of the case and your ability to receive these necessary benefits as soon as possible.

For more information about the work our lawyers do, please contact us today. We have years of experience handling workers' compensation claims in New York. We will help you get the benefits you deserve!


Will Zika Fall Under Workers' Compensation?

Posted On: August 19, 2016

One of the areas of coverage under Workers' Compensation insures employees for any consequences of infectious diseases that may arise at your place of employment. Given that, is the Workers' Compensation system ready and willing to handle Zika claims?

The Zika Virus has been causally linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome according to a new US CDC study. The US CDC has issued an alert about the spread of Zika virus. The CDC announced that in Florida Zika is now being spread by mosquitoes in the continental U.S. A recent study that was published in "Cell Stem Cell," noted that the Zika Virus can infect adult brain cells as well as fetal cells, which was not previously known.

The National Institutes for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) has recommended the following:

"Employers should protect workers and workers should protect themselves from diseases spread by mosquitoes. Although most people do not become sick after a bite from an infected mosquito, some people have a mild, short-term illness or (rarely) severe or long-term illness. Severe cases of mosquito-borne diseases can cause death."

To follow-up on this message from the NIOSH, employees can take these preventative actions including protecting equipment in the field, removing debris from ditches, filling in areas that collect standing water, remove tires, buckets and items that collect standing water and placing holes in containers that could collect standing water where mosquitoes may breed. An obvious preventative measure is of course, using ample bug repellent.

Before these battles inevitably enter the court room over this issue, including causal relationship, it would be wise to think about how employers, insurance companies and workers can be protected from the Zika Virus. Even though Congress has not acted on funding prevention and treatment programs, the White House has taken the initiative with educating the public and recently transferring $600Million of unused Ebola funds to the attack on the Zika Virus.

Hopefully, workers' compensation insurers will do their part and participate in prevention initiative now that mosquito season has started. Workers' compensation stakeholders can help prevent both an epidemic of illness as well as an epidemic of claims.

For more information about our law firm, please contact us. We will gladly answer any questions you may have regarding our representation.


Never Go To Their Doctor, Go To Yours!

Posted On: August 11, 2016

If you get hurt on the job, your employer may suggest you go to their company doctor. An issue that arises from this situation is that for some reason, these injured workers are only being treated at that specific clinic and nowhere else and it is detrimental to their health.

It's no surprise that a company clinic makes a ton of money from the company. If they keep the injured workers off of work, the company will look for a new medical facility that will say what they want them to say.  As a result, we constantly see these doctors sending severely injured employees back to work when they should be getting rest and treatment.

So how do we solve this problem?

The solution to this problem is relatively simple on the forefront. You do not have to be treated at the company clinic even if the insurance company says they won’t pay for you to see your own doctor because that is a flat out lie. Under most Workers' Compensation laws, you have a right to see a doctor of your choosing and treat with them.

If you have suffered a serious injury on the job it is really important that you exercise this right to the fullest extent. It is your right to see a doctor of your choosing and receive the appropriate medical care. You absolutely need a physician who is unbiased and can tell you exactly what is wrong with you and what treatment you need.  You need someone who will not send you back to work too early when that can make your injury exponentially worse and could lead to permanent damages to your body.

If you have a back, neck, leg or arm injury that goes beyond a strain, you should have your doctor refer you to an orthopedic doctor as those are the physicians who specialize in treating those specific type of injuries. Most clinic doctors working through your company will often tell you that an x-ray is normal so you are fine-which is almost never the case! The reality is that ligament injuries as well as any herniated discs can only show up via an MRI and that is a common test which an orthopedic will order to determine what is truly wrong with you.

This is all true even (and especially) if your wish is to just be fine and get back to work. There are far too many instances when a doctor sends you back to work too soon and ends up turning a mild injury into one that results in months of lost time and a surgery when a few weeks of rest and physical therapy could have solved everything.

Know your rights. If you are injured on the job, choose your doctor! Choose your treatment! And contact us today to be protected! We can answer any questions you may have about legal rights.


105 Years of Workers' Compensation!

Posted On: August 11, 2016

This year has marked the 105th anniversary of the first Workers’ Compensation law in the US. Wisconsin was the first state that passed workers' comp. legislation, followed by Illinois in the same year. Workers’ compensation laws were the first major social legislation issued in the United States. As controversial as they were then, they remain just as controversial now. Regardless, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and even the Federal Government have workers' compensation laws.

When the 20th century kicked off, countless workers feared financial hardships from disabling and horrible injuries. Congruent with these fears, employers worried that taking responsibility for work-related injuries would bankrupt their businesses. Before workers' compensation laws took effect, an injured worker seeking compensation had to file a lawsuit against his or her employer in court.

Early 20th century laws imposed strict requirements before an injured worker could recover damages from an employer for industrial injuries. To be sure, the law required the employer to provide a safe workplace and safe tools. They also had to warn of dangerous conditions and provide a sufficient number of qualified co-workers. However, in order to recover money damages for work injuries, an employee had to prove in court that the employer acted carelessly or negligently in creating an unsafe condition in the workplace. Worse yet, an employer could avoid liability merely by blaming the injured worker for his own carelessness, or attributing the injury to the negligence of a fellow servant. They could also argue that the employee assumed all risk of a work injury by accepting the job in the first place.

The entire process from beginning to end was prolonged and uncertain, including large financial risks to both the employee and employer. The high injury and death rates brought on by the Industrial Revolution and growing dissatisfaction with the common law, led both labor and management to recognize that radical and immediate change was needed. In the US and throughout the industrialized world, the laws governing employer liability for workplace injuries began to evolve.

The first Workers' Compensation laws originated in Germany in 1884, with a compulsory system of accident insurance covering all employees in manufacturing, mining and transportation. Similar laws soon passed in other European countries.

In the US, Workers' Comp legislation was passed on a state-by-state basis. Most of the early laws covered only the most hazardous occupations and were frequently challenged as unconstitutional and to this day each state has specifics when it comes to Workers' Comp coverage and laws.

For more information about our representation capabilities, please contact us today. We can answer any questions or concerns you may have about our law firm. We have offices across Long Island.


Was Your Workers' Compensation Claim Denied?

Posted On: May 09, 2016

Were you injured in a workplace accident or are you currently suffering from an disease related to your occupation? Logical thinking would be, “My claim will definitely be accepted.” However, what if it is denied? Who do you turn to next?

To help you understand Workers' Compensation further, we will provide a list of which workers are covered under workers’ compensation. In New York, nearly all employers are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage.

If you work for a for-profit business, are a school teacher, a domestic worker who works at least 40 hours a week or a worker compensated by a nonprofit organization, you should be covered. Those who are NOT covered by New York’s workers’ compensation law, include:

  • People who volunteer for nonprofit organizations
  • Members of the clergy
  • People who engage in amateur athletic activities
  • People who teach for a nonprofit religious or charitable organization
  • People who receive charitable money from religious and charitable organizations
  • New York City firefighters, sanitation workers and police officers
  • People who do casual chores for private residences (domestic workers)
  • Real estate salespersons
  • Certain insurance agents

Sometimes, a worker’s claim will be denied because the insurance company believes that the worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or intentionally being reckless when he or she was injured. In such cases, the worker’s claim may be denied and an appeal may be frivolous

Workers' Compensation Hearing and Appeals Process

If  your worker’s claim is denied, he or she has the right to appeal the decision. In this situation, the Board may conduct a hearing, which is overseen by a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge. After listening to the testimony and reviewing the evidence, the judge shall determine if the worker is entitled to benefits.

If the worker is not satisfied with the results of the hearing, he or she has 30 days to appeal the decision. This is accomplished through a Board review. A Board Panel decision can be appealed to the Supreme Court, whose decision can be appealed to the Court of Appeals.

Whether you believe you deserve Workers' Compensation due to an accident or exposure on the job or that your hearing will not be heard, contact us today for a free consultation and we will see to it that the right decision is made! We have offices across Long Island to help people from across New York.


The Importance of Workers' Compensation

Posted On: April 26, 2016

You may think that an accident you were involved in on the job site may not be serious or entitle legal help, but you should always be on the safe side and contact one of our  workers' compensation attorneys. We are here to help. Workers' Compensation claims are never easy, but as experts in our field, we are here to get you every dollar you deserve to both cover your expenses, your time away from work and any malpractice that may have caused these injuries to you. The unfortunate nature of jobs with hazardous environments is that not only may serious injuries occur, but fatalities as well. From the graph above, you can see close to 5,000 people lost their lives in 2014 from occupational injuries. What is not known however, is how many of those accidents could have been avoided.

That is where we come in. Those who suffer injuries on the job sight may feel as if they would be wasting their time filing for workers' compensation as they would be going up against both the employer and insurance company, but we are here to fight for you. Contact us for a free consultation! We have law offices across Long Island to help New Yorkers with workers compensation claims.