Frequently Asked Questions about Workers' Compensation:
How do I file a claim?
You should notify your employer as soon
as possible regarding your injury and complete any paperwork they
provide you. Failure to notify your employer of the work-related
injury within 30 days of the injury could result in denial of your
workers' compensation claim. You should also file the Board's
Employee Claim form, called a C-3, and submit it to the Workers'
Compensation Board either by mail or online. If you have not already
completed a C-3, we can assist you. Additionally, you should be sure
to see your doctor and provide as much detail to him or her as
possible regarding your work-related injury.
What do I do if my workers'
compensation claim is denied?
Your case will be scheduled for a
Pre-Hearing Conference in front of a Workers' Compensation Law Judge.
You must be able to provide sufficient evidence to convince the Law
Judge that your case should be established as a work-related injury.
Your case will most likely be schedule for testimony of yourself and
possibly your supervisor, manager, or other co-workers, as well as
medical testimony from your doctors and the insurance carrier's
Independent Medical Examiner, if you have been sent to one.
What is the difference between total
and partial disability?
If your doctor indicates you have a
100% or temporary total disability, it means your doctor believed you
are unable to return to work in any capacity. If your doctor believes
you are unable to return to your normal job are capable of performing
other job duties, it is not an opinion of a 100% disability.
If your doctor indicates you have
anything less than a 100% disability, he or she believes you have a
partial disability. This means you are capable of returning to work
in some capacity. Typically, your doctor will provide you with
restrictions for work. If the medical evidence indicates you have a
partial disability, you are obligated to try to return to work within
those restrictions in order to be eligible for workers' compensation
awards. If you do not currently have a job, this means looking for
new job within your restrictions, enrolling in school, or entering a
training program to learn how to do a job that is within your
The degree of disability indicated in
the medical evidence determines the amount of your weekly workers'
compensation awards while you are out of work. If you are not working
but the medical evidence indicates a partial disability, you will be
entitled to awards at a partial rate (assuming you are complying with
the requirement to return to work).
What happens if I return to work?
The insurance carrier and/or employer
must be notified immediately once you return to work, whether it is
for the same employer or a different employer. Failure to do so can
result in a finding that you have committed fraud, which can lead to
a ban on workers' compensation benefits as well as criminal charges.
Further, you can be found to have committed fraud if you engage in
any work-like activity, regardless of whether you were actually paid.
If you return to work and are earning
less as a result of your work-related injury, you may be entitled to
reduced earning benefits. If you return to work at the same or higher
wages than you earned at the time of your work-related injury, your
workers' compensation awards may stop. However, you remain entitled
to causally related medical treatment.
What if I try to return to work but am
unable to perform my job duties?
You may be found ineligible for
workers' compensation awards if you voluntarily stop working without
medical evidence to support being out of work. If you have attempted
to return to your job but find you are unable to perform those
duties, you should first talk to your employer about accommodating
your work restrictions, if you have any. You should see your doctor
and explain the issues you are having with your job duties and be
sure to follow your doctor's medical advice.
Does my employer have to hold my job
for me while I am out of work?
This may depend on various factors
including your employer's specific policies and the Family Medical
Leave Act. This issue is beyond the scope of the New York State
Workers' Compensation Law.
How often should I see my doctor?
You should see your treating physicians
no less than every 90 days. Failure to do so could result in
suspension of your awards.
What does it mean to have a permanent
Whether you have a permanent impairment
depends on what type of work-related injury you have suffered.
Typically, injuries to extremities (hand, shoulder, knee, foot, etc.)
result in a schedule loss of use award. Injuries to the spine (neck,
back) result in classification with a permanent partial or total
disability. The level of permanent impairment is determined by the
medical evidence. Your doctor will usually provide you with his or
her opinion on your permanent impairment a year or so after your
injury or any causally related surgery you have had. The insurance
carrier may obtain their own opinion by sending you to an Independent
Once you are found by the Law Judge to
have a permanent impairment, it does not mean your case is settled.
You will continue to remain entitled to causally related medical
treatment and may continue to receive workers' compensation awards
under some circumstances.
Can I collect unemployment and/or
Social Security Disability Benefits when I am receiving awards from
You may be eligible to receive
unemployment benefits or SSD benefits at the same time you are
receiving workers' compensation awards. Our office can help you with
the appeals process if you have applied for and been denied SSD.
How much are attorney fees?
In workers' compensation, your attorney
is only awarded a fee if you are receiving monetary awards. You are
entitled to a free initial consultation to review your claim with an
Attorney fees vary depending on the
work involved in the case. Fees are paid directly to your attorney by
the insurance company and out of awards owed to you in the case.