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Business Group Demands Less Money For Injured Workers

Once again, the Business Council will seek to convince Albany lawmakers to strip away parts of the workers’ compensation system, and Governor Cuomo is putting his weight behind the proposals.
This year, the group wants to eliminate the trust fund and extend the medical treatment requirement. Currently, employers must make deposits into a collective trust fund, so injured workers have better leverage to negotiate larger settlements, simply because there is more money in the pot. Furthermore, a victim can file a compensation claim almost immediately after the illness or injury. The proposed changes would eliminate the pot of money, so there would be fewer funds available per individual incident; if the measure is approved, victims must also see a company doctor for at least four months, in some cases.
A spokesperson for Governor Cuomo characterized the possible reforms as “common-sense proposals that the governor is reintroducing with the goal of improving outcomes for injured workers and eliminating costly redundancy that hurts workers, employers and medical providers.”
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Some states have specific benefits for specific injuries (“x” for a broken arm, “y” for a strained knee, and so on), but New York uses a mostly subjective formula to makes these determinations. The hearing officer takes 2/3 of the average weekly wage and multiplies that number by the percentage of disability.
The average weekly wage is rather objective, because it can be determined simply by looking at the victim’s paycheck. There may be some room for movement here; for example, a worker may have recently received a promotion and the prior average weekly wage is no longer accurate.
But the percentage-of-disability is entirely different. The adjuster nearly always insists that the victim’s injuries were minor or short-term and the percentage of disability is negligible, at best. In these situations, an attorney often partners with an expert witness, so the hearing officer has a more accurate picture of the victim’s disability and its effect on the family’s everyday life.
In addition to prior and future lost wages, victims may also receive money for medical care. This reimbursement includes hospital and doctor bills, as well as rehabilitation expenses. Supplemental benefits may be available as well, for victims who are especially affected by rising costs.
There is plenty of money available for injured workers, for those who know how to obtain it. For a free consultation with attorneys who advocate for victims, contact our office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in a workers’ compensation case.

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