A Day At The Races
January 14 2016
For the second straight year, the New York Gaming Commission and the Jockey Injury Compensation Fund are going down to the wire on a new contract.
Under an emergency measure, stall rates at New York Racing Association tracks would skyrocket from $1.50 per day to $5.65 per day to pay for insurance that covers apprentice jockeys, competition jockeys, and exercise riders. There is also a deductible of $1,000 per injury and a benefits freeze. Officials at the Gaming Commission stress that the terms would probably be more favorable to workers in a final agreement, as the proposed increases would likely motivate the JICF to bargain more aggressively.
Under the law, an updated workers’ compensation package must be approved by December 31 for the upcoming year.
The Workers’ Compensation Board applies a formula to determine the amount of cash benefits that injured workers receive. Currently, that formula is a multiple of two-thirds the claimant’s average weekly wages from the past year and the amount of disability (25 percent, 50 percent, and so on). If the disability is permanent but the victim can obtain some other job, the formula applies to the difference between the old wage and new wage. The benefits also include “necessary” medical care. Although these elements may seem straightforward, they are highly subjective and an attorney can often considerably increase your benefits.
The first element in the formula – average weekly wage from last year – is often misleading, because many people work in a different type of job, or at least in a different location, every few months.
Most injured workers are sent to a company doctor who nearly always underestimates the percent or length of a disability. An attorney can review medical records, and partner with an expert when necessary, to give the hearing officer a more accurate picture of the disability and its effects.
Finally, the WCB adjuster nearly always interprets the medical treatment provisions as the ones that are minimally necessary, as opposed to the treatments that are necessary to promote a full recovery. There is a significant difference between the two. The adjuster, who is not on your side, wants the bare minimum; an attorney, who is on your side, wants you to get better.
The workers’ compensation system provides no-fault insurance for injured workers. For a free consultation with attorneys who are committed to your recovery, contact our office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.