The New York State Workers Compensation Law

Learn the things you need to know about on the job injuries and occupational diseases:

If you have been injured at work or have contracted a disease or condition you feel is job-related, then Tiernan & Krug is here to help. Whether you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits, and if so, making sure you are being availed of all rights and remedies under the Workers’ Compensation Law are complex issues that often require the assistance of an attorney. 

An injury at work can occur in many different ways, sometimes from an event as simple as a slip and fall, to something that occurs over time like repetitive stress from lifting, bending or typing, to something more complex like exposure to a toxin at the workplace or suffering a heart attack or stroke at the workplace. Having an attorney who is experienced in handling the many types of injuries that can occur at the workplace can make the difference between a claim that never gets established and a claim that results in a lifetime award. 

Having a Workers’ Compensation case in New York is different than a lawsuit in conventional Court. The law of New York bars lawsuits against Employers for injuries occuring on the job except in special, limited circumstances. All disputes in Workers’ Compensation claims are adjudicated by Administrative Law Judges at the Workers’ Compensation Board which has locations throughout New York State.

While there are no formal rules of evidence or pleading required by the Board, the law that applies to monetary benefits, medical treatment, permanent injuries and other issues has become increasingly complex since the overhaul of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law in 2007. Especially of concern are the Medical Treatment Guidelines of 2010, the first of their kind in the history of the Workers’ Compensation Board, and the 2012 Guidelines for Determining Permanent Impairment and Loss of Wage Earning Capacity. The Medical Treatment Guidelines of 2010 apply to all work-related injuries to the neck, back, shoulder and/or knee without regard to the date of your injury. While these guidelines result in preauthorization for many expensive diagnostic procedures and some surgeries which required carrier or Board approval in the past, the Guidelines also place strict limits on the frequency and duration of many less expensive treatments, such as physical therapy and chiropractic care. The Board’s 2012 Guidelines on Permanent Impairment introduce a brand-new methodology for calculating the degree of permanency in non-schedulable claims that places a new emphasis on the worker’s educational and vocational abilities which were often not addressed in the past. Retaining an attorney who is well-versed and familiar with the new laws and guidelines that have flowed from the 2007 overhaul of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law is vital to ensuring your rights are fully and zealously protected at the Workers’ Compensation Board. 

Unlike other types of cases, attorneys’ fees in Workers’ Compensation claims are always subject to the approval of an Administrative Law Judge, are deducted from the claimant’s award and are payable directly from an Employer or Insurance Carrier to the claimant’s attorney. The basis for a fee is the quality and quantity of work that an attorney has performed to obtain a favorable result that “moves money” to the claimant. While there is no hard, fast percentage of a claimant’s award that is automatically requested or approved, it is customary for attorneys in New York to request 10% to 20% of the money that moves to the claimant as a result of the work the attorney has performed as an attorney fee. Attorneys’ fees are also customarily granted when an attorney demonstrates the claimant’s right to an ongoing monetary benefit at a hearing. 

The number-one priority of the Workers’ Compensation attorneys and staff at Tiernan & Krug is to provide you with outstanding advice, education and personal service to enable you to make well-informed decisions that will serve your best interests in your Workers’ Compensation case. If you retain our firm, your matter will be handled by an experienced attorney and staff member that handle Workers’ Compensation cases only, that will maintain a familiarity with you and your matter, that will treat you with respect, and that will be able to articulately and accurately explain the status of your matter and what outcome(s) are likely and how they will affect you and your case. 

Please contact our firm today for a free initial consultation regarding your Workers’ Compensation claim.