WORKER’S COMPENSATION INJURIES

In a Workers' Compensation claim, virtually any injury or illness that is caused by some aspect of your employment may be covered. We say "may" because the insurance carriers and self-insured employers will often deny any non-routine case or cases where they feel they can dispute the cause or the connection to your employment. At The Law Offices of Peter W. Antonowicz, we are well versed in all areas of workers compensation law and practice in all state and federal courts in New York, as well as before federal, state and local administrative agencies.

If you have been hurt on the job and have lost time from work, you may qualify to receive a portion of your lost wages and medical expenses. We are dedicated to protecting people like you who are injured on the job and work our hardest to see that you are justly compensated.

If you have suffered a partial or permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work, then you may receive additional awards pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Law. There are many claims that must be filed and there are deadlines that restrict the time you have to file these claims.
 
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Some of the injuries and conditions covered By the Workers' Compensation Law are:
  • Burns: from hot surfaces, hot liquids, hot steam, from chemicals or chemical exposure, radiation.
  • Cancer from occupational exposure to radiation, toxic chemicals, to Asbestos (Asbestosis and Mesothelioma, etc.)
  • Eye Injuries and Loss of Vision.
  • Fractures and sprains of: the skull, vertebrae in the neck or back, hip, pelvis, arm, leg, wrist, hand or finger, ankle, foot, toe, ribs, nose and facial fractures.
  • Loss of hearing, due to an accident or to long exposure to injurious noise levels at work.
  • Psychological conditions, such as Depression and Anxiety caused by a work-related injury or by your working conditions. Note that such conditions caused by routine personnel decisions affecting you, are not covered.
  • Repetitive motion injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tenosynovitis of the joints, Tennis Elbow (from repetitive motion not just tennis)
  • Sick Building Syndrome illnesses; C.O.P.D. (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
Multiple conditions, work related or not, may in combination be enough to establish a successful claim. Please contact Peter W. Antonowicz at (315)337-4008 OR peter@disabilitya-z.com.
 
 
The New York Workers' Compensation Process

Although the entire bureaucratic process seems daunting at first, Peter W. Antonowicz and his staff, can help you with every stage of obtaining Workers' Compensation benefits:

  • Obtain medical attention: Before worrying about who will pay for your lost work, it is essential that you obtain appropriate medical care immediately after an accident. It is important for your physical recovery, and you must obtain an initial report from your doctor that will help establish eligibility for Workers' Compensation benefits. In New York, injured workers generally have the right to see whichever doctor they choose.
  • Notify your employer: As soon as possible, notify your employer that you have been hurt or have contracted an illness as a result of your work. This is necessary when seeking Workers' Compensation benefits.
  • File a claim: Your employer should have claim forms available. Make sure you file a claim as soon as you can, because there are time limits on filing for workers' comp. Missing a deadline for filing could render you ineligible for benefits.
  • Acceptance or denial: Although some valid Workers' Compensation claims go through without any problem, Workers' Compensation insurance carriers commonly deny perfectly valid claims.
  • Appeal: If your claim has been denied, we can help you with the appeals process to fight for the compensation you need.
 
 
 
Can I Appeal A Workers' Compensation Claim?
If your Workers' Compensation claim has been denied, you can contact Peter Antonowicz at peter@disabilitya-z.com to learn about your options.
Workers' Compensation Board Panel Hearings ∙ Full Board Reviews
If your initial Workers' Compensation application has been denied, you have the right to request a review from a three-person Workers' Compensation review board. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, as you have only 30 days from the date of the initial denial to file this review claim. Further, this panel hearing is not the time to clean up or make additions to your initial filing. The initial filing is the primary source of evidence that the board will review and you will not have the opportunity to introduce new evidence, so it is crucial to make sure you get the initial filing perfect at the beginning of the Workers' Compensation process. If the board denies your appeal, you will still have the chance to request a full board review, followed by an appeal to the courts.
How Long Will I Get Workers' Compensation Benefits?
The year 2007 brought bad news to injured New York workers receiving Workers' Compensation benefits. Until that time, many workers who were permanently disabled were eligible to receive benefits for the length of their injuries — permanently. In 2007, this changed, and New York became a "capped state." Now there are caps on the amount of time that injured New York workers can receive permanent disability benefits. Now, ironically, injured workers in New York receive "permanent" disability benefits temporarily.

These benefit caps make it especially important for you to talk with an experienced Workers' Compensation attorney. You need to consider all possible forms of compensation, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). We have experience in Workers' Compensation and SSDI, and we have a thorough understanding of the complications involved with the intersection between Workers' Compensation and SSDI. We can help you obtain the maximum benefits available for your injuries.
How Long Will I Get Workers' Compensation Benefits? Workers' Compensation Benefit Caps
There are two kinds of permanency: scheduled loss of use and classification.
Scheduled Loss Of Use
Scheduled loss of use permanency involves injuries to or loss of members or body parts. If you have a permanency to a member, like an arm or a toe, it is called a scheduled loss of use. Each body part has a certain number of weeks attached to it for purposes of calculating the duration of workers' comp benefits.
Classification
Injuries with permanency not involving a specific member of the body — like spine and neck injuries — are called classifications. Before 2007, the Workers' Compensation judges would determine the extent that a worker's classification hindered the ability to work. The injured worker would then be compensated to that percentage for as long as the injuries lasted, even if that was permanent.

Now these benefits are capped. They stop after a fixed amount of time, leaving injured workers without the full extent of the benefits they need.
Permission For Medical Treatment
In December 2010, injured New York workers' access to medical care changed dramatically under Workers' Compensation law. Before that time, a doctor needed permission from the insurance carrier to provide any treatment worth more than $1,000. This requirement was removed in December, resulting in one of the most significant changes to Workers' Compensation since its inception.

The new guidelines set out a process by which a doctor can provide treatment worth more than $1,000. If the doctor follows the process, he or she does not need authorization. Doctors are dealing with the system under the fear that they will be held liable for possible missteps in the procedures. These complicated procedures include incredibly strict guidelines that ultimately make access to medical procedures like fusion surgery even more challenging for injured workers in New York. The new guidelines also limit the extent of physical therapy or treatment that injured workers can receive.
Do I Need To Look For Work If I Am Getting Workers' Compensation?
Yes, you do.
Under the New York Workers' Compensation requirements, recipients of workers' comp benefits are required to show that they are looking for work within their restrictions. This requirement may seems, especially those workers who have suffered serious, debilitating injuries. However, it is necessary to comply with this requirement or you may lose Workers' Compensation benefits.
Complicated Requirements
Failure to comply with the job search requirement is called "voluntary removal," which results in loss of your benefits. Compliance with this rule, however, is not a simple matter. There are many Supreme Court Appellate Division cases that lay out the specifics of this requirement.

The most common justification for denying continuing Workers' Compensation benefits is that the injured worker has not demonstrated the required effort in looking for other work.

  • The actual job search: By definition, partial disability means that you are not totally disabled; you can still do some work. All New Yorkers receiving partial disability benefits need to search for work that is within their abilities.
  • Demonstrating job search efforts: It is one thing to look for work, but you also have to properly demonstrate your job search efforts to the workers' comp insurance carriers. Missing filing deadlines or committing small clerical errors could lead to the loss of your benefits.