After two straight years of playing chicken with jockeys and trainers, the New York State Gaming Commission wants to make its workers’ compensation system more stable (no pun intended).
In both 2014 and 2015, the Jockey Injury Compensation Fund missed a November 15 deadline to submit a new plan that takes effect the following January 1. This November, if the same thing happens, the NYSGC can implement a “default subsequent year plan” that automatically takes effect. In the past, the Gaming Commission made a counteroffer that increased costs and spurred (one again, no pun intended) the JICF into action. Now, that counteroffer will be permanent, and jockeys will be stuck with higher costs and/or lesser benefits.
Since no agreement means no thoroughbred racing at New York Racing Association tracks, officials at the NYSGC said they did not want to be forced into yet another “emergency situation” in 2017.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Injured workers do not have to prove fault to obtain cash compensation for lost wages and medical expenses.
To determine the amount of lost wages, the Workers’ Compensation Board uses a very subjective formula that considers two-thirds of the average weekly wage (AWW) and the percentage of disability. The amount is easy to calculate if the injured worker was at the same job and the same pay for the last 52 consecutive weeks and was permanently and totally disabled, perhaps due to paralysis. But in all other cases, there are intricacies involved.
Many workers change jobs frequently, while others relocate from state to state, and there is a difference between operating a crane in Buffalo and a crane in Manhattan. So, comparing past wages to current and future wages is not always an apples-to-apples comparison.
Furthermore, the insurance company nearly always disputes the percentage of disability. It is important to have an experienced attorney who can partner with doctors and other experts who are experienced in these cases and can give a well-qualified opinion.
Injured workers are also entitled to comprehensive medical expenses, because they must receive treatment that is designed to fully restore their health. These costs include:
- Hospital bills,
- Diagnostic tests,
- Medical devices,
- Prescription drugs,
- Rehabilitation expenses, and
- Other medical-related costs.
Once again, the insurance company typically argues that not all the bills and treatments were medically necessary.
Injured workers are entitled to cash benefits. For a free consultation with attorneys who are committed to your recovery, contact our office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in workers’ compensation cases.