(by Elton Mwangi)
NYS’s workers’ compensation laws are set in place to protect employees if they get injured or become ill due to work-related reasons. The number of injuries and illnesses that happen at work is astounding. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are almost three million non-fatal injuries and sicknesses in the workplace annually.
Failure to understand workers’ compensation laws and communicate them to employees can lead to many conflicts in the workplace, a high rate of absenteeism, and a mass exodus as employees seek better employers. Don’t let your workers miss out on their benefits because they filed their claims late. So, let’s learn about NYS’s workers’ compensation laws.
Workers’ Comp Coverage
New York requires all employers, including domestic and agricultural employers, to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This ensures benefits are granted to employees if they’re injured or ill during their employment.
Employees should not use their health insurance when visiting the physician. They should tell them about the injury or illness being work-related. The doctor will file reports with the insurance carrier of the employer and the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.
Workers’ Comp Benefits
An employee who experiences a job-related accident or gets an occupational disease is entitled to medical care, vocational rehabilitation, and wage replacement benefits. They will get two-thirds of their average weekly income as wage benefits.
According to New York workers’ compensation laws, employers are not required to keep the employee’s job open. But if the federal Family and Medical Leave Act applies, they will keep the job open.
Other benefits include disability benefits that safeguard employers and employees from financial challenges resulting from off-the-job injuries. While medical care is not covered, the injured individual gets wage replacement for up to 26 weeks.
New York State protects its workers from their employers. That said, if the employer denies an employee’s claim, they may appeal to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board.
The employee must provide documents proving the average weekly wages and a testimony from their physician to explain the extent of the disability. After the judge issues a ruling, both parties have 30 days to appeal the decision.
New York workers’ compensation laws require an injured worker to report an injury to the employer within 30 days of the incident. But it’s advisable to do it as soon as possible.
In case an injury causes subsequent damage, employees have up to two years to file a claim. An example of such damage includes an employee getting back pain weeks after a slip and fall accident.
Job-related Injuries and Sickness
Job-related injuries and illnesses include repetitive stress injuries and diseases resulting from exposure to hazardous chemicals, among others.
After the worker realizes that the injury or sickness is related to their work, they have two years to file a claim.
Hearing Loss Special Rules
Workers might have difficulty realizing they have a hearing loss, especially if they are in the same environment that caused the condition. That explains why New York’s workers’ compensation laws are lenient in this case; workers can file a claim within 90 days of realizing their hearing loss is work-related, even if two years have passed.
Otherwise, the hearing loss must be reported within three months of the worker being away from the company that caused the injury.
If an employee dies because of a work-related injury, a claim must be filed by the family within 24 months. They should be able to get death benefits.
In case of an occupational illness that kills a worker, the family should reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney for legal advice.
Workers usually have 30 days to report an on-the-job injury to the employer. They also have two years to report injuries and illnesses related to work. In case of hearing loss, employees should report the injury within 30 days of being away from the workplace that caused the condition.
The worker is entitled to medical care, wage replacement, and vocational rehabilitation benefits. But if the claim is denied, they can request a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge.
At Zupnick & Associates, we can help you understand all the workers’ compensation laws in New York State before getting you the best workers’ compensation coverage. Contact us for more information.