Blog May 2019

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Can I sue my employer?

Posted On: May 20, 2019

Can I sue my employer?

Section 29(6) of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law states that workers’ compensation benefits are the “exclusive remedy” for injured workers. Employees are entitled to collect benefits for lost wages and medical treatment related to their work injury or illness. Thus, as a general rule, in New York State, an employee cannot sue his/her employer.

There are notable exceptions to this rule: 1) if the employer intentionally caused the employee’s injury; 2) if an employee fails to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for an employee; 3) if the employee is a uniformed worker for the NYPD, FDNY, or New York City Department of Sanitation, since those agencies are not required to maintain workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.

An employee may, however, potentially sue a negligent third-party via a personal injury lawsuit. This rule can apply in some notable cases: 1) an employee is injured in a motor vehicle accident; 2) an employee suffers injury on a construction site; 3) an employee is injured by negligence of a subcontractor; 4) an employee is injured while working on the property of another business. 

In all cases, the individual facts influence the remedies available to an injured worker. During your free consultation with Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn, our attorneys will review the facts of your case and provide valuable advice. We want the best for our clients, and we believe the injured worker should receive all of the benefits they are entitled to. If a personal injury lawsuit is possible in your case, we will work with you to find the right lawyer to handle this portion of your claim.

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Workers' Comp in a Digital Age

Posted On: May 01, 2019

Workers’ Comp in the Digital Age

In 2018, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board began rolling out its Virtual Hearing system. These virtual hearings allow all parties in a workers’ compensation claim—attorneys, claimants and witnesses alike—to participate remotely via their computers, tablets or phones. New York is the first state to have implemented such a system state-wide.

The system utilizes Cisco WebEx, and requires steady internet connection and a device with both camera and microphone capabilities. In 2019, the Board also released a virtual hearing mobile app. As of the time of this article, virtual hearings are available at all New York State Workers’ Compensation Board locations except Newburgh (this location will be added soon).  

With some hearings lasting only several minutes, this virtual hearing option is especially helpful to eliminate claimant’s travel burden, especially if the claimant is still injured or ill at the time of the hearing.

However, while the virtual hearings may be useful in some cases such as inclement weather or travel-preventing injury, it is important to note that in-person contact between the claimant and his/her attorney is extremely important. Due to this, the attorneys of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn generally recommend that claimant’s attend all hearings possible. This ensures that the attorney can connect personally with the claimant, answer questions and explain the hearing.

We expect that the workers’ compensation system will continue to evolve and change with times and technology, bringing both advantages and disadvantages.  As these changes come, our staff will continue to answer your questions and ensure you get the benefits you deserve.

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