Types of Benefits Available to Injured Workers
When a person is injured at work or is diagnosed with an occupational illness and files a claim with the New York State Workers' Compensation Board, he or she may be entitled to a certain type and amount of benefits. In addition to covering all medical expenses, workers' compensation may provide cash benefits for lost earnings. Families who lose loved ones to fatal work accidents may be able to seek benefits as well. A brief overview of the three primary types of benefits is included below:
Cash benefits cover lost earnings for a worker who is disabled by a work-related illness or injury and is unable to work for more than seven days. These are not paid for the first seven days that the worker is disabled, unless the disability lasts for more than two weeks, in which case the worker may be eligible for benefits from the first day of missed work. The amount of cash benefits paid to a worker will be calculated by taking two-thirds of his or her average weekly wage and multiplying it by the percentage of disability. For example, a worker who earns $600 per week and is 50% disabled would be eligible for a weekly benefit of $200. If that same worker were 100% disabled, the weekly benefit amount would be $400. There is a cap on cash benefits, which changes from year to year. The total weekly maximum for July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, for example, is $792.07.
Injured workers eligible for workers' compensation will receive medical care related to their injuries or illnesses from healthcare providers that are authorized by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. There are some exceptions, however, as in the case of an emergency situation when a worker may not have time to seek out an authorized provider. Specialized tests or procedures not available at an authorized facility may be sought elsewhere and the workers' comp insurance provider would have the responsibility of paying for this treatment.
When a family loses a loved one in a work-related accident or as the result of an occupational disease, the surviving spouse and/or minor children may seek benefits under the workers' compensation system. These benefits may include weekly cash benefits as discussed above, which would equal two-thirds of the worker's average weekly wage from the year before the incident occurred. If there are no surviving family members, the estate or the worker may receive a sum totaling up to $50,000. Workers' compensation may also cover funeral expenses, which may total up to $6,000 in Metropolitan New York counties and up to $5,000 in all other parts of the state.
Although the workers' compensation system in New York provides the above benefits to injured workers and the families of workers who lose their lives in workplace accidents, this does not guarantee that every applicant will receive benefits or that these benefits will be paid in a fair and timely manner. Navigating the workers' comp system can be difficult, particularly if an employer or insurance provider acts dishonestly or tries to delay or deny payment of a fair claim. Working with an attorney can make a difference. With an experienced attorney to properly file the workers' comp claim and handle all necessary paperwork, hearings or appeals, the claimant can rest assured that his or her interests and rights are protected.
Napoli Shkolnik PLLC handles workers' compensation claims, hearings and appeals for clients across New York from our headquarters in Manhattan. If you would like to learn more about our firm and how we can help you, contact us today for a free case review.