Workers' Comp FAQs
If you have been injured on the job, you probably know that you should be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, but you likely have questions about how the process works. Below are answers to some of the questions most frequently encountered by New York workers' compensation attorney Peter Cordovano as he helps injured workers across the mid-Hudson Valley. You can also see our Workers' Compensation Process page for more information. If you have other questions or need immediate assistance with a job-related injury, please contact our office in Highland for a free consultation.
Q. How do I know if I am covered by workers' compensation?
A. New York workers' compensation law is very broadly defined. Nearly every employee in a for-profit enterprise is covered. Additionally, the law covers county and municipal employees engaged in a hazardous occupation, public school teachers outside of New York City, state employees, and certain domestic workers and farm workers. Unless the law specifically excludes your industry or occupation, you are very likely covered. If you are unsure about coverage on your job, contact our office for a confidential consultation with an experienced New York workers' compensation lawyer.
Q. What is a Section 32 Agreement, and how do I know if I need one?
A. A Section 32 Agreement is a waiver agreement between you and your company's workers' comp insurance carrier. If you negotiate a Section 32 Agreement, you agree to settle your claim in exchange for a lump sum cash payment, and you waive your rights to pursue the claim further. Once a Section 32 Agreement is negotiated and approved by the Workers' Compensation Board, your case is closed and cannot be reopened.
You should discuss the pros and cons of a Section 32 Agreement with your attorney before you sign one. For instance, a Section 32 wavier may not be good for you if you might need further treatment or therapy down the road, but it might be in your best interests if you have a permanent partial disability, due to the cap on how long you can collect benefits. A Section 32 waiver agreement is a complicated legal document, and you should definitely have legal advice and representation in negotiating, drafting or reviewing one.
Q. Can I receive any benefits while my claim is being appealed?
A. If you are seeking review of an unfavorable decision, the carrier does not have to pay benefits during the review process. If your award is being appealed by the employer or workers' comp carrier, then you should receive medical payments and wage benefits during the appeal. If only a portion of your award is being contested, the uncontested portion will continue to be paid to you during any appeals or review process.
Q. Do workers' compensation benefits make up for the wages I miss while I cannot work?
A. Along with reimbursement for your medical expenses, wage replacement is a big part of your worker's compensation benefits. Exactly how much of your lost wages can be made up by workers' compensation depends upon a number of factors, including the date on which you were injured, the severity of the disability, and the terms of any negotiated agreement you may be covered under. In most cases, benefits are determined by a statutory formula that multiplies two-thirds of your average weekly wage by your disability percentage rating, up to a maximum amount. Some employees, depending upon their contract, are able to receive 60% of their wages for up to nine months as part of a Supplemental Pay Program, or up to six months of full wage replacement.