Frequently Asked Questions
Filing for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
What You Can Expect from Sawers & Sackel, PLLC
When you have been injured on the job, it can be easy to get lost in New York’s workers’ compensation system without the assistance of an experienced lawyer and law firm. You may have concerns about how your case gets evaluated, when you will start receiving payments, how you should seek medical treatment and how long the entire process will take. This page is meant to answer many of your basic questions.
At the law office of Sawers & Sackel, PLLC, we have a long and successful track record of representing injured workers in western New York. Our professionals work diligently, focusing our efforts on getting you the benefits you are entitled to. Contact our office to arrange a free phone consultation.
We provide all prospective clients with a free consultation, where we will discuss your claim in detail with you in order to determine if we can help you. If we decide to handle your claim, you will retain us, which will allow us to review your Compensation Board file electronically. Thereafter, we will be able to act as your advocate against the insurance company on all issues, as well as in all hearings and proceedings.
Some of the questions clients frequently ask us include:
- What will happen after I contact Sawers & Sackel, PLLC?
- Once we are retained, we notify your employer’s insurance carrier and the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board that we are representing you. Our staff will then thoroughly review all pertinent documents submitted in your case. Based on our review, we will determine what the next appropriate legal steps are. If there are outstanding issues, we will try to resolve them directly with the carrier. If they are not in agreement with us, we will request a priority hearing on your behalf. We will work diligently to ensure that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.
- When will I start receiving benefits?
- This will depend on whether your employer agrees that your injury was work-related. If so, you may start receiving benefits almost immediately. Even so, they may not pay you at the appropriate rate. If that is the case, we will request a priority hearing to correct the situation.
- If your employer or their insurance carrier contends that your injury was not work-related, or that it was a preexisting condition, they may controvert your claim, i.e., refuse to pay without a court order. In that case, a hearing will be scheduled and benefits will generally not be paid until we win benefits on your behalf. Ultimately, if the court finds in our favor, the benefits will be retroactive to the date your disability began.
- What happens if the insurance company refuses my claim?
- If your claim is controverted, you can seek benefits under the New York State Disability Benefits (NYSDB) program. The payments are less than workers’ compensation and are for a limited period of time. There are also specific criteria you must meet regarding time on the job, timeliness of your claim and proof of disability. If your workers’ compensation claim is successful, you will be required to pay back any compensation you received through the NYSDB program.
- What can I do if the insurance company cuts my payments?
- If your employer or the insurance company chooses to voluntarily pay you, without a judge’s direction, your benefit amount can be changed at their discretion. If you are receiving voluntary benefits and they are reduced, notify us immediately and we will request a priority hearing on the issue if we have supporting evidence. Once a judge orders workers’ compensation payments, they cannot be reduced without a further hearing.
- Can I choose my own treating physician?
- In most instances, you can select your own physician, provided that the person or facility is authorized by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to provide medical care. If your employer participates in a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), you may be required to choose a health care provider from within that organization. However, you can opt out of the program and seek an authorized medical provider of your choice 30 days after your first exam with the PPO physician.
To set up a free phone consultation, contact us or call us at 716-202-2367. All workers’ compensation claims are handled on a contingent-fee basis. We only get paid if you get paid.