Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Serves Workers in Highland, NY
Knowledgeable advocate helps clients get the benefits they need
Peter M. Cordovano, P.C. helps injured workers in the Hudson Valley recover workers’ compensation benefits for medical treatment and wage replacement. Workers’ compensation can be a complicated process, and there are many ways employers and their insurance carriers try to deny claims to avoid paying benefits. If you are engaged in a dispute over a denied claim, a low disability rating, or a disability settlement offer, let an experienced lawyer represent you throughout the process. Since 1980, I have fought to get eligible workers the maximum benefits available under the law.
Understanding how New York workers’ compensation works
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system in which employers pay premiums in exchange for limited liability against injury lawsuits. If you have a workplace accident and are injured on the job, or if you get sick due to an illness caused by your work environment, you have the right to file a claim with your employer’s insurance carrier. You do not have to prove that your employer was negligent or even that you are free from all blame, and you do not have to go to court to prove your case.
In most cases, you are not permitted to sue your employer or a co-worker for personal injury. You are limited to workers’ compensation benefits, which include payments for your medical care and replacement of a portion of the wages you lose while you are out of work. These benefits are typically far less than you might otherwise be able to recover in a civil lawsuit for negligence, where you can also recover compensation for pain and suffering and other losses. However, in rare cases, someone with whom you do not have an employer-employee or co-worker relationship might carelessly cause your injury. This opens the door for a third-party negligence lawsuit.
Qualifying with a work-related injury
Workers are not covered for any and all unfortunate incidents but only for work-related injuries and illnesses. This means the injury or illness must “arise out of” employment and happen “in the course of” employment. When deciding whether a worker’s claim is valid, the court looks at several factors:
- Was there an employer-employee relationship? Independent contractors, visitors, and passersby are not covered.
- Did the injury happen during work? This usually includes any time a worker is engaged in an activity that confers a benefit on the employer.
- Did the injury happen because of job-related risks? The worker must be injured due to a requirement to be in a particular place at a particular time performing particular tasks.
There are many gray areas for determining what injuries are work related, including injuries to workers misclassified as contractors, incidents at company picnics or parties, injuries while on breaks, injuries away from the worksite, or injuries due to horseplay. A court looks at the totality of the circumstances to see if certain facts rule a claim in or out. Your attorney must have the knowledge and experience to make a compelling argument.
Assistance with controverted workers’ comp claims
Unfortunately, there are a number of ways your employer or their insurance company may dispute, or controvert, your claim. If your claim is challenged or denied, you will want to have an experienced workers’ comp attorney on your side to represent you. These are just a few of the ways employers and their insurers may try to avoid paying you benefits:
- They may claim that you are not really injured as seriously as you claim to be, or at all. To prove you are injured, they may require you to undergo examinations by their own doctors, who are paid by them.
- They may claim that your injury was not work related. For instance, they may claim you were injured while you were on a break or running personal errands. If you were on the clock or on the premises, your claim may likely be covered.
- They may claim your injury is really based on a preexisting condition not caused on the job. However, if such a condition is aggravated by a workplace accident, you should be compensated.
- They may claim that the accident was caused by your own negligence or misconduct. Workers’ compensation is supposed to be a no-fault system, and except in a few limited circumstances, your own behavior should not count against you.
Additionally, to be successful on your workers’ compensation claim, you must notify your employer in a timely fashion and follow important procedural steps to protect your rights.
Contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney in Highland, Poughkeepsie, Arlington, or Kingston to appeal your claim
If you have been injured on the job or contracted an occupational illness due to conditions in the workplace, you should immediately contact an experienced New York workers’ compensation attorney. For reliable assistance in Ulster, Dutchess and Orange counties, call Peter M. Cordovano, P.C. at 845-691-4200 or contact my Highland office online to schedule a free consultation.