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Buffalo New York Workers' Compensation Blog

What you should not do after a work injury

American workers are made of stern stuff. Most share the common work ethic that includes that little voice in our heads that says, "Buck up. Shake it off. Get back in the game." This can be admirable, but if you are hurt on the job, enduring the pain and trauma without complaint is a mistake.

Does permanent disability mean endless benefits?

Workers' compensation is a valuable benefit every worker in New York should be familiar with. It ensures that individuals injured on the job have the availability of financial payment while they are losing time from work due to the injury, as well as necessary medical treatment.

The best-case scenario after a work injury is that the worker recovers to a point where he or she can return to work. But sometimes the injury leaves the worker permanently disabled. That permanent disability could be to a partial degree, or a total degree.

Who is and is not covered by New York workers' compensation?

In New York state, employers have an obligation to provide workers' compensation insurance coverage, regardless of fault. This means if you are hurt on the job, you can obtain immediate medical care, as well as longer-term rehabilitation treatment if it's necessary. In the event your work injury or illness causes you to lose time from work, you may be entitled to monetary compensation.

So who exactly is covered? The list is long but does have limits. One of the key factors that determines who must be covered is the employer's business status.

The historic event that spurred New York workers' compensation

As we noted in a previous post, the concept of workers' compensation dates back some 4,000 years. Considering the expanse of time the concept has been around, it might surprise some readers to learn that workers' compensation in New York State has existed for only slightly more than 100 years.

This past week, New York State marked the 107th anniversary of the event that spurred New York workers’ compensation law.  In this post, we look back to the origins of the state system, which is meant to ensure benefits of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and financial support to workers injured on the job.

Types of benefits available under New York workers' compensation

If you go to your personal physician with a specific injury, one of the first questions you likely will face is whether the injury happened at work. There's a good reason for the inquiry. If the trauma occurred outside of work, your personal or employer-sponsored health insurance receives the claim. If it was job-related, the claim goes to the company's workers' compensation insurer. Obviously, that difference in coverage influences claims processing and payment.

Who is responsible for what when I'm injured on the job?

Injuries on the job happen. Some jobs are more hazardous than others but the reality is that injuries can happen to anyone, at anytime. The premise of workers' compensation coverage is that fault is not a factor. Workers' compensation law in New York provides individuals with the medical care for injuries and illnesses related to work, as well as compensation when a work injury or illness has caused lost time from work.

New York state law requires nearly all employers to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage for just such occurrences. However, not every employer carries the required coverage. Even when they do, the insurance company providing the benefits has incentive to keep the payout as low as possible for profit's sake.

In New York, what does workers’ compensation cover?

Workers' compensation, as a concept, is not new. Its history traces back some 4,000 years to ancient Sumeria. Documented law from that time includes provisions for monetary compensation for a worker's loss of body parts and even broken bones. A few hundred years later, Ancient Greek, Roman, Arab, and Chinese law all provided sets of compensation schedules, with precise payments for the loss of a body part. In the millennia since, the model has spread around the world and the standard of coverage has changed.

Nations, as well as every state in the U.S., have come up with their own guidelines of what workers' compensation should cover. In this post, we aim to provide you with an overview of the basic benefits required by New York law.

OSHA increases enforcement of silica rule

In 2013, OSHA implemented a new crystalline silica standard for construction companies in New York and throughout the country. In January 2018, OSHA adjusted the fines that these companies must pay for violating that rule. They will be fined $12,934 per violation in addition to the same amount per day if changes are not made. Those that are deemed to be repeat violators could face fines of up to $129,336.

Crystalline silica is dust that gets put into the air when cutting or drilling concrete or when fracking. To prevent dust from getting into the air, concrete must generally only be cut when wet. Alternatively, workers must be given sealed respiratory masks. Exposure to this substance could create health issues such as lung cancer or kidney disease. It may also result in individuals having a hard time breathing or not being able to breathe at all.

How a lawyer can help with a workers' comp case

Although worker safety should be a top priority for employers, safety hazards are often overlooked. Employees may face safety threats daily, and on the job injuries are a common occurrence.

A prevalent problem

In 2016, nearly 3 million workplace injuries were reported in the U.S. Almost 140,000 of those injuries happened to New York workers. If you are an employee who suffered a workplace injury or illness, you might be eligible for workers' compensation insurance benefits. Workers' compensation benefits include cash benefits and/or the coverage of medical expenses for workers injured on the job. The cost of the insurance is paid by the employers in order to provide the benefits to employees.

What are the “Fatal Four” Injuries in the Construction Industry?

According to the 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 63.7 percent of worker fatalities occurring in the construction industry resulted from injuries sustained from one of the “Fatal Four” accidents.