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How Does Workers’ Compensation for Construction Accidents Work in New York?

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How Does Workers’ Compensation for Construction Accidents Work in New York?

In the state of New York, any contractor or construction company owner is required by law to provide insurance for their workers in case of an accident or injury in the workplace. This has been termed Workman’s Compensation and is designed to help an employee recover financially from the incident. The sad truth is, there are many incidents in which a worker does not get full financial coverage due to dirty insurance company tricks or other factors. The lawyers at Proner & Proner can help you through the Workers’ Compensation process and help sue for additional financial compensation when needed. Contact our offices today for a free consultation for your New York construction accident workers’ compensation claim.

Contact Proner & Proner for help with Workman’s Comp and you construction accident injury claim!

What is Workers’ Compensation and How Does It Work in New York?

As aforementioned, workers’ compensation is an insurance policy put in place by a contractor, property owner, or construction company for the sole purpose of giving financial coverage to workers who end up injured on the job. It helps an employee recover from a work-related injury by helping provide medical care with an authorized provider, covering some or all of one’s lost earnings, and assisting a worker back to work.

This insurance policy only covers what is considered to be “reasonable and necessary medical treatment” for the work-related injury or illness specifically. This wording can sometimes result in insurance companies or supervisors finding a work around to not give you all the compensation you need. This wording can also mean that gas mileage for travel to and from the medical provider’s location can sometimes be covered.

Some additional benefits for New York workers’ compensation include:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation – If you can’t return to the job you were injured at because of your injury, you may be eligible for a vocational rehabilitation program or job placement services.
  • Death Benefits – When a worker loses his or her life as a result of a work-related injury in New York, the surviving spouse, children, or other dependents may receive death benefits, according to policy-made formula based on the number of surviving children. Depending on the county, funeral costs may also be covered.

Temporary Disability Benefits in NY

Total Temporary Disability

If your doctor says that you’re fully disabled on a temporary basis, the benefits you will receive will be 2/3 of your weekly average wage, up to a specified maximum amount that depends on the date of your injury. For injury dates between July 2018 and June 2019, the maximum is $904.74 per week. As of July 1, 2017, the maximum benefit is $870.61 per week. The New York Workers’ Compensation Board keeps an updated list of the maximums on its website in regards to any other injury dates.

Partial Temporary Disability

There are two possible ways of determining the financial benefits for partial temporary disability:

  1. If you haven’t returned to work but your doctor has assigned a temporary disability level of less than 100%, you will receive 2/3 of your weekly average wage multiplied by the percentage of disability you are diagnosed with. For example, if you would usually earn $900 weekly before the accident and your doctor has given you a 50% disability diagnosis, you would receive $300 (2/3 of $900 x 50% = $300). The annual cap applied to total temporary disability applies here as well.
  2. If you’re able to return to work but are performing poorly and earning less because of the injury, you may be able to get 2/3 of the difference in your wages. For example, if your average weekly wage was $900, but you’re working a light duty job earning $300 per week, you could receive 2/3 of the difference ($600), or $400 per week.

Permanent Total Disability Benefits in NY

A disability can be classified as permanent disability only after a victim’s medical condition has stabilized or reached a point where treatment wouldn’t improve the person’s condition. This stage is also classified as “maximum medical improvement”. To receive a diagnosis of permanent total disability, a licensed medical practitioner must evaluate your overall health and decide if the accident has left you with any permanent physical or mental limitations. If the doctor does determine you to be 100% disabled, you will receive ⅔ of your weekly average wage as long as you are disabled. Although 100% disability usually means the individual cannot work, there are some disabilities under this classification that can still allow the person to return to work doing certain tasks to earn extra money alongside their benefits.

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits in NYC

For those who are not classified as 100% disabled, the benefits system works a little differently. New York has three method of awarding benefits for those classified as having permanent partial disability. Which method will be used will depend on the part of the body that is affected and the extent of the disability.

The following are two possible ways of obtaining disability benefits for permanent partial disability:

  • Scheduled Loss-of-Use Awards – This schedule involves partial loss of ability regarding the eyes, ears, and parts of the upper and lower limbs. Benefits provided are ⅔ of weekly average pay up to the maximum for the number of weeks in the determined schedule. This is then multiplied by the percentage of your body usage that was lost.

Example: The schedule lists a total loss of use of a hand at 244 weeks. If you have only 50% lost use, you would receive 122 weeks of payments. You may request a lump-sum payout instead of weekly payments. Cash benefits that you have already received are deducted from your award.

  • Non Scheduled Awards – This schedule involves the spine, head, organs, and any other part of the body not part of the Loss-of-Use Schedule. Benefits provided are ⅔ of the difference between your pre-injury weekly average wage and your current earning capacity. This means you will be given ⅔ of the the extra money you are no longer able to earn due to your limitations. How many weeks you will receive these benefits depend on the percentage of your lost earning capacity, which is calculate via a special New York law-based formula.

Example: You’ll receive 500 weeks’ worth of benefits if you’ve lost 91% of your earning capacity, while a 15% loss of earning capacity will result in 225 weeks of benefits.

What A Lawyer Can Do When NY Workmen’s Comp Doesn’t Cover All of Your Financial Loss and Non-Monetary Pains

Although Workers’ Compensation can be great for getting financial compensation quickly for injuries and accidents, there is unfortunately a trade off to the security and speed. Often, a worker will not be fully covered for all financial loss in regards to wages or medical care. Due to the nature of this insurance and the laws of New York, a worker is also often not allowed to go after a contractor or employer to get the full compensation value that is needed. This means that a worker will often have to take a hit on lost wages and non-monetary costs such as pain and suffering.

There are, however, several instances in which a worker can sue for additional compensation needs:

  • If a defective or damaged product was involved, you might be able to bring a products liability action lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product.
  • If a toxic substance was involved, you might be able to bring a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of that substance.
  • If an employer intentionally engaged in misconduct, you might be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
  • If your employer did not provide Workers’ Compensation benefits, you might be able to sue your employer in civil court or collect money from a state fund.
  • If a third party caused your injury, you might be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that person.

Contact Proner & Proner for a Free Initial Consultation for Your NY Construction Accident Injury Claim Today

Navigating the ins and outs of Workers’ Compensation can sometimes be complicated. Depending on your injuries, disability level, diagnosis, treatment, recovery time, lost wages, and performance when you return to work, you are eligible to receive a certain amount of financial compensation. Proner & Proner has helped numerous clients navigate these legal waters as well as look at options for negligence lawsuits in cases where you are not being financially compensated as well as you should be. Contact us online today for a free initial consultation regarding your construction accident injury case, and we can help you get the financial compensation you need. We have offices in New York, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and throughout the state of New York. We have also represented clients suffering accidents throughout the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an IME mean in terms of Workers’ Compensation?

An IME is also known as an Independent Medical Examination. The workers’ rights advocacy group known as the National Association of Injured & Disabled Workers (NAIDW) describe IMEs as serving three important purposes:

  1. Determining the cause, extent, and medical treatment of a work-related injury where there are liability concerns.
  2. Determining whether an individual has reached the maximum benefit from treatment.
  3. Determining whether any permanent impairment remains after treatment.

What if my employer did not provide me with a NY Workers’ Compensation insurance plan?

Should your employer not provide the required Workers’ Compensation Insurance, there are two ways that you can obtain the funds you need to cover medical bills and lost wages. The first is to seek coverage with governments funds and grants that are created to protect and help injured victims, especially in disaster situations. The government is very selective with who it chooses to help. The other option is to sue your employer or contractor directly in civil court. This can also have its benefits because in civil suits, it is easier to also add such things as pain and suffering into the compensation amount you are negotiating for. In some cases, it can actually be a benefit to not be insured and be able to go after a supervisor instead.

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