Helpful Insight from a New York Workers' Compensation Lawyer
You have been injured at work. Now what? You may have tripped and fallen on a loose floor tile while walking down the hall to your office. You may have been struck by a piece of heavy machinery at the manufacturing plant where you work. You may have fallen from scaffolding at a construction site. No matter how the incident occurred or the extent of injury you have experienced, there are certain steps you should take if you experience a work-related injury in New York. Taking these steps can protect your right to receive workers' compensation benefits.
The following are the basic steps to take after an on-the-job injury. These may vary depending on the severity of the injury and the circumstances surrounding the event that led to the injury, but these can be used as a guideline:
Seek medical attention. If you have been seriously injured, the first thing you should do is seek medical care. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if the injury is severe or life-threatening. If the injury does not require emergency care, find out from your employer where you should receive medical treatment. The treating healthcare provider for a work injury must be authorized by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board, except in emergency situations. Medical services rendered to treat a work-related injury are covered by workers' compensation.
Notify your employer of your injury. After seeking medical care, you must inform your employer, in writing, of what occurred. You must do this within 30 days of the incident that caused your injuries, or you may lose your right to recover benefits. If you were diagnosed with an occupational disease, however, you may have two years from the date that you became disabled or the date that you knew or reasonably should have known that your illness was work-related.
File an Employee Claim (C-3). You must file form C-3 with the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. You can fill out and file this form online or can fill it out and mail it in. You can even call the Board for assistance in filling out your claim over the phone. This form must be filed within two years of the date of your injury, or you may lose your right to workers' comp benefits.
The above are the three primary steps recommended by the NYS Workers' Compensation Board. The Board also recommends that the claimant:
- Follow doctor's instructions to speed full recovery.
- Attend an Independent Medical Examination if you are required to do so.
- Go back to work as soon as you are able.
Attend such hearings as may be held in the case, when you are notified to appear.
Another step we highly recommend is involving an attorney. Seeking legal counsel can be done at any stage of this process, though we advise that you talk to your attorney as soon as possible.
Involving an Attorney
Having a competent workers' compensation attorney by your side in the early stages of your claim may make all the difference as you seek workers' comp benefits. There are certain steps you should take and things you can do to give yourself a better opportunity at having your claim resolved quickly and in a fair manner.
A New York workers' compensation lawyer at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC may be able to help with each step listed above. This includes helping you seek the medical care you need, even if it is outside the network of Board-approved healthcare providers, which is allowed in certain circumstances. It also includes notifying your employer (and handling all communication with your employer regarding your claim) and filing form C-3 with the Workers' Compensation Board. Properly filing your claim and including all relevant supporting documentation can increase your chances that it is approved and you are offered a fair settlement. After your claim has been filed, your attorney can handle any necessary negotiations with the workers' comp insurance provider and can even file a lawsuit on your behalf if you are the victim of a wrongfully denied or delayed claim.
With more than 150 years of collective experience, a national reputation as a leading plaintiffs' firm and a track record that includes more than $3 billion recovered since 2000 alone, Napoli Shkolnik is prepared to provide the level of legal counsel that can make a difference for New Yorkers who have been injured at work. Contact our NYC headquarters today to learn more.