After last week's post on our Syracuse workers' compensation blog about the steps injured workers should take - which include seeking medical attention and notifying your employer of the accident - let's spend some time this week looking at what happens to your workers' compensation claim once you've filed it. There are key milestones that must be reached within certain time frames in the process. This information is general in nature only, not to be taken as specific legal advice.
Before we conclude our short series of blog entries on health care workers, let's briefly discuss how a workers' compensation professional can help injured employees with the benefits to which they are entitled. After all, our Syracuse readers by now understand the risks to which these employees are exposed. What steps should they consider after an accident occurs?
Although some workplace accidents in New York are minor, there are many that are serious in nature. These accidents can cause employees to deal with significant medical expenses. On top of that, they may suffer from short-term or long-term disabilities that prevent them from returning to work right away. Fortunately, employees injured on the job do have the ability to file for workers' compensation benefits. Even though this process may seem straightforward, it's not uncommon for victims to experience issues along the way and ultimately get their claim denied.
New Yorkers may be aware that they can receive workers' compensation benefits for workplace accidents, but they may also be entitled to compensation for repetitive stress, illness or a chronic health conditions that are caused by their job. The pain or injury does not have to be the result of a one-time accident. Sometimes specific job duties, such as typing, bending or lifting, are performed repetitively, causing debilitating pain in discs, joints, muscles and nerves.
Even when employees have been properly trained, a workplace accident can still occur. When a New York employee suffers injuries that prevent him or her from performing a job's duties, it is possible to receive workers' compensation benefits. However, many injured workers decide not to take advantage of these benefits - money that is rightfully theirs - because of the fear of retaliation. However, for the most part, an injured employee's job is protected while he or she is receiving benefits.
There are a lot of gray areas when it comes to determining eligibility for workers' compensation benefits. Each state has its own laws and while a physical injury that happens in the workplace is typically covered, the courts are still divided when it comes to mental issues such as stress. A New York man is celebrating a victory after the New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division awarded him workers' compensation for stress inflicted by a co-worker's husband's plot to murder him.
After a workplace injury, New Yorkers may seek out treatment, such as medications, to help control the pain caused by the injury. While painkillers can minimize pain and allow people to perform everyday activities with ease, they can sometimes cause more harm than good.
Administrative hearings are an important part of the workers' compensation process, and they only take place at certain venues in New York. Recently, the New York Workers' Compensation Board and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were criticized for closing a number of rural workers' compensation hearing sites, a move that forces injured workers to travel farther to complete their hearings.