Getting hurt on the job can be a stressful and frightening experience. Millions of workers are hurt on the job every year and injuries may be serious or potentially life threatening. Therefore, it is important to take action right away. There are certain steps and procedures that must be fulfilled in order to receive workers compensation benefits.
The first step after being hurt on the job is to notify your employer. If you are unable to notify them right after the injury has occurred, do so in the next 30 days. However, if the injury has accumulated over time, such as cancer from chemical exposure, you have 30 days after the diagnosis to let your employer know. If you do not notify your employer within 30 days of the injury you may lose the right to compensation benefits. Although a written notification is not required, it should be safeguarded for future reference.
The second step is to obtain medical treatment for the injury as soon as possible. Injured workers can receive treatment from their employers with the company doctor. After the initial treatment it is advised to follow up with additional appointments. The injured worker does not pay for the medical treatment(s) because it is required by law that employers carry workers compensation insurance to cover expenses.
The third step is to keep records of when you missed work. This allows you to keep track of money you are entitled to receive. If you have missed at least seven days of work you are entitled to receive lost wages benefits equal to two-thirds of your lost income.
The fourth step after an on-the-job injury is to keep a detailed account of your medical treatment and process. Keeping a record of your medical treatments, progress, and recovery will help to identify the state of your condition. This will prevent employers from encouraging you to come into work when you are not ready.
The final step is to follow up on your claim. The approval process is quick and benefits are received within weeks. However, if your claim has been denied you must call an attorney immediately. You have limited time to respond so it is important to take action promptly.
Do you have additional questions? We are here to help
On April 10th, 2017, Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature made changes to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law. The law suggests several changes affecting injured workers since the enactment of the NYS Workers’ Compensation Reform Act of 2007.
The first change involves injured workers looking for work. This change reports that injured workers diagnosed with permanent partial disability (PPD) are no longer required to prove they were looking for work. This new change eases the stress of injured workers and eliminates the risk of losing lost income benefits.
A second change to the law affects first responders. First responders who suffer mental injuries on the job are now entitled to secure Workers’ Compensation benefits. Previously, first responders who suffered mental injuries were not entitled to WC benefits because their stress was not distinct in comparison to other first responders.
A third change involves permanency of injuries. Injured workers who have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) are entitled to start collecting lost income benefits once permanent injury is classified.
Please do not hesitate to contact our offices with concerns regarding the new changes to the New York Workers’ Compensation Law.
Buffalo, NY – Lost & Gangi, a Buffalo-based workers compensation and personal injury law firm has added three new associate attorney to the firm’s workers’ compensation practice. The announcement was made by Jeffrey D. Gangi, managing partner for Lost & Gangi. The new attorneys include Philip Scaffidi, Bryan Brooks and David Derrico.
Philip Scaffidi has been practicing law since his admission to the New York State Bar in 1996. A graduate of the University of Rochester where he earned a B.A. in economics, he obtained his law degree from Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Scaffidi has focused his legal work on representing injured workers. Mr. Scaffidi is a member of the Injured Workers’ Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association. He is also a member of the Bar Association of Erie County where he served as Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Committee. He has been recognized in Buffalo Business First’s “Who’s Who in Law” and was recently honored by the Center for Elder Law and Justice with their “Attorney Excellence Award” for his work assisting refugees with worker’s compensation claims.
Bryan Brooks is a 1999 graduate of SUNY Fredonia where he earned a BA degree in history and political science. He attended the University of Dayton School of Law and graduated in 2003. After practicing law in Washington State, Brooks relocated to New York and was admitted to the bar in 2005. Mr. Brooks has been practicing workers’ compensation law exclusively since 2007. He joined Losi & Gangi in September, 2017 to focus his practice exclusively on the protection of the rights of injured workers in Western New York.
David Derrico, a Buffalo native, earned his undergraduate degree from SUNY Buffalo in 1990 and his juris doctor from the University of Pittsburg School of Law in 1993. He has been admitted to practice law in New York, Washington State, the District of Columbia, and in Illinois. Derrico began his legal career representing individuals facing a wide range of criminal matters as an Assistant Public Defender. His practice has also included work in Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies, and during the foreclosure crisis he worked as an attorney for the Western New York Law Center representing homeowners struggling with the gravity of a pending foreclosure. More recently he began representing carriers in workers’ compensation matters prior to joining Losi & Gangi. His practice will now focus on representing injured workers and helping these individuals navigate workers’ compensation law.
About Lost & Gangi
Lost & Gangi is a leading workers’ compensation and personal injury law firm representing clients during all stages of a workers compensation of personal injury case. The firm employs 10 attorneys.
The last thing an injured or ill worker wants to think about is bureaucracy and red tape. Recovery should be the only thing on their mind. Unfortunately the bureaucracy at the Workers’ Compensation Board is proposing changes to its guidelines along with regulatory proposals that will result in drastic benefit cuts for injured workers. Please tell the Board what you think about these planned cuts. It will only take a moment. We’ve provided a letter that you can use to submit a comment to the Workers’ Compensation Board using the link below. Let them know this attack on workers will not go unanswered.
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Law provides for awards to injured workers that lose use of an extremity due to a workplace illness or injury. These awards are made regardless of impact on earning capacity and are called schedule loss of use awards. Awards involving total loss of use such as an amputation or total paralysis of an extremity are controlled by statute, while calculation of partial awards is a matter of Workers’ Compensation Board guidelines.
Corporations have been lobbying hard to change those guidelines to shortchange workers. We can’t let that happen. Frankly, this plan is an insult to all working men and women. Benefit cuts for injured workers are wholly unjustifiable.
Everyone hopes that their Workers’ Compensation claim is won on the first instance in front of a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge (“WCLJ”). However, unfortunately, this is not always the first outcome. Furthermore, even if a case is still won on the first instance, an appeal can still be filed by the carrier or opposing party. So, what can a claimant expect when their case is being appealed?
Initially, the party appealing the decision will file their appeal. The party opposing the appeal will file what is known as a rebuttal. The rebuttal will generally request that the initial decision rendered by the WCLJ be affirmed in its entirety.
The appeal and rebuttal will then go to a Three Board Panel Member (“Board”) review board. At that time, the Board has a host of options. The first option available to the Board is to affirm the decision of the WCLJ. This affirmance can occur in two separate fashions. The first fashion is an unanimous decision, meaning all three Board panel members agree with the WCLJ’s initial decision. If this occurs, the appellant (the party maintaining the appeal) can file what is known as a discretionary appeal to the next level of appeal in New York State Workers’ Compensation, the Full Board. If the appeal is discretionary, the Full Board has the option either consider the appeal or deny consideration of the appeal.
The second way the Board can affirm an initial Decision of a WCLJ is through a split decision. Essentially, this means that out of the three Board Panel Members, there is a dissenting opinion from one that will argue for a different holding than initially made by the WCLJ and his or her fellow Board Panel Members. At this time, the appellant may file a mandatory appeal to the Full Board. A mandatory appeal is an appeal that must be considered by the Full Board.
The third option available to the Board is to issue a decision that will modify the WCLJ’s initial decision. In this instance, the Board Panel agrees with some aspects of the initial decision but feels it is appropriate to alter other aspects of the initial decision. In this instance, the parties may still file an appeal to the Full Board based on the holdings that are potentially modified.
During the appeal process, it is also important that claimant’s counsel protects the rights of the claimant to bring his or her appeal to the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department. As Workers’ Compensation Board Decisions are issued within the realm of Administrative Law, a claimant has the right to seek relief with the New York State Supreme Court. In New York State, the Third Judicial Department Appellate Division is vested with the authority to hear appeals that originate in New York State Workers’ Compensation. To properly protect a claimant’s right to maintain an appeal to the Third Department, there are multiple time filing requirements and notice requirements that must be met following the initial decision from a WCLJ. If these time requirements are not met, a claimant may be denied his or her right to seek relief to the Appellate Division for the Third Department of the New York State Supreme Court.
As highlighted by the above, the appeal process within the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board is timely and complex. The Law firm of Losi & Gangi has extensive experience in maintaining appeals in the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board as well as to the Appellate Division for the Third Department of the New York State Supreme Court. We have litigated cases from their initial inception and through the appeal process with success. Although it is our goal to win in the first instance, our team is dedicated to seeing every case through until the proper determination is made or all avenues of relief have been exhausted.
What injuries or illnesses will be covered by workers’ compensation?
The nature and cause of a work-related injury greatly ranges and must be assessed on a case by case basis. A work related injury can stem from a single isolated event; such as lifting a heavy object and feeling pain in your back or other part of your body, or development of an injury over a long period of time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or occupationally related hearing loss. Regardless of the incident, each case deserves the appropriate resources to ensure that the injured worker’s rights are properly protected and to ensure the greatest recovery possible.
What benefits can a claimant expect to receive following a work-related injury?
In a workers’ compensation claim, a claimant’s recovery is limited to wage indemnification benefits for actual time lost from work, awards for permanent impairment, and payments of all related medical and vocational treatment. A claimant’s wage indemnification benefits will be limited to up to two-thirds of the claimant’s average weekly wage for the year preceding the injury. A claimant’s ongoing medical care must also be consistent with specific rules and regulations, as promulgated in the New York State Medical Treatment Guidelines.
There are a variety of factors and timelines in place that can impact a claimant’s wage indemnification and medical benefits. These factors and timelines must be adhered to in order to ensure that an injured worker’s rights are fully protected. If you have been injured on the job and have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us!
About Losi & Gangi
The law firm of Losi & Gangi is professional limited liability company that concentrates the majority of their practice on workers’ compensation matters and personal injury law.
The firm consists of partners, Jeffery D. Gangi and Harry G. Modeas, with associate attorneys Thorice M. Jacobs, Brett Miller, and Philip Scaffidi. Furthermore, the firm employs Patrick Brown, Esq., of counsel. In addition to our attorneys, the firm also employs a licensed workers’ compensation representative, Jay P. Boardway.
Burden of Proof
The most important difference is that a personal injury claim is based on fault and a workers’ compensation case is not. In order to recover damages in a personal injury claim, such as a car accident, slip and fall, or construction site accident, the injured party must demonstrate that the offending party was negligent and at fault for the happening of the accident.
In workers’ compensation cases, employees injured on the job are not required to show that their employers were at fault for the happening of the accident in order for them to claim and receive workers’ compensation benefits. In other words, workers’ compensation claimants do not need to prove that their employers did anything wrong for them to claim and receive workers compensation benefits. Even when a claimant’s own negligence has caused his or her injury, the Workers’ Compensation Law still allows the injured worker to claim and receive benefits.
In a personal injury case, you are entitled to recover all of the damages that you have suffered. This includes lost wages, lost wage earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, and past and future pain and suffering.
In a workers’ compensation case, a claimant’s recovery is limited to wage indemnification for actual time lost from work, awards for permanent impairments, and payment of all related medical and vocational treatment. Workers’ compensation claimants do not receive compensation for pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. Also, all monetary awards for lost wages and permanent impairments are limited by the Workers Compensation Law.
Before states enacted workers compensation laws around the turn of the 20th century, injured employees had to bring personal injury claims against their employers and prove they were negligence before they could receive any compensation. The enactment of workers’ compensation laws ensured that all employees who were injured on the job would get some weekly benefits and would get their medical bills paid. In return, employees lost the right to sue their employers and coworkers for negligence and lost the right to collect damages for pain and suffering.
Still have questions about Workers’ compensation or personal injury? Contact us.
About Losi & Gangi
The law firm of Losi & Gangi is a general partnership of attorneys concentrating the majority of their practice on workers’ compensation matters and personal injury law.
You have been injured on the job and you are now being told that you will not be able to return to the work you have been performing. What happens now? Where do you turn, should you apply for Social Security Disability benefits? How will Workers’ Compensation treat your permanent disability?
Social Security Disability benefits are a federal program that one may turn to if they suffer a severe disability, illness or condition that prevents gainful employment. According to the US Social Security Administration, state workers’ compensation programs provide approximately $60 billion each year in financial and medical-care benefits to work-related illnesses and injuries. Social Security is also the nation’s largest disability insurance program, and each state has its own policies, for example, there are 13 states that tax social security — New York State does not carry a tax on social security.
To apply, you should be out of work for at least a minimum of 5 months with the expectation that you will continue to be out of work for 12 months, if not longer. You can apply for ongoing benefits into the future based on your inability to return to work or also seek a closed period of benefits should you be able to return to work after a 12 month duration.
To be clear, there is a difference between Workers’ Compensation and Social Security. Social Security is meant for workers who are severely impaired and cannot return to their previous work, and prohibits the worker from adjusting to other means of employment. Workers’ Compensation is for those who suffered a work-related accident while performing their normal course of job duties.
There are two major permanent disability classifications in Workers’ Compensation — temporary disability and permanent disability. When you are classified as having a permanent disability under Workers’ Compensation, further inquiry must be made into the type of permanent injury that you have.
Usually, if your injury involves an extremity, such as an arm, leg, hand, etc., you will be found to have a Schedule Loss of Use based on the permanent functional limitations opined by the treating physician. Based on the medical evidence, you will be awarded a Schedule Loss of Use award (“SLU”) which means a lump sum of money based on the degree of permanent disability you are found to have. Please note that there are exceptions where you may be found to have a permanent disability even if an extremity was involved. This would entitle you to ongoing permanent disability payments as explained further below.
Permanent disability payments are typically for all other injuries that do not involve your extremities, such as to your back. When you are found to have a permanent disability with ongoing future loss of wage payments an ongoing award will be made. There are additional vocational factors that will be taken into account, such as your age, education, past relevant work, residual functional capacity and ability to transfer into a lesser demanding type of work given what you functionally can do.
From here, temporary and permanent each include total and partial disability that will be determined by your health care provider and explain the amount of benefits you will receive. It is very important to treat with a physician who understands Workers’ Compensation as the amount of your benefits are highly dependent on your physicians opinion of the degree of disability that you have, whether it be temporary or permanent.
It is also important to remember that any costs related to the work-related injury that has ultimately caused a level of disability, including surgeries and medications, should be covered by your employer.
If you feel that you aren’t receiving the proper financial support, contact us so we can look into your situation and offer you the assistance you deserve. Take some time and review some of our verdicts & settlements related to social security claims here.
About Losi & Gangi
The law firm of Losi & Gangi is a general partnership of attorneys concentrating the majority of their practice on workers’ compensation matters and personal injury law.
The firm consists of partners David Paul Losi, Jeffery D. Gangi and Harry G. Modeas, with associate attorney Thorice M. Jacobs. In addition to our attorneys, the firm also employs a licensed workers’ compensation representative, Jay P. Boardway
“What is Workers’ Compensation?”
While many of us may have heard of Workers’ Compensation or know someone who might have received it, they may not know what Workers’ compensation is or the process in which it is distributed to workers.
Workers’ Compensation is a type of insurance that is required by state law to provide compensation to employees who are involved in an injury or accident on the job. Additionally, Workers’ Compensation is regulated at a state level — meaning New York State laws related to Workers’ Compensation are very specific, and will differ from the laws in surrounding states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey.
In addition to understanding New York’s laws on Workers’ Compensation, it is also important to understand some key points about Workers’ Compensation:
♦ Hospital and medical expenses related the treatment of your work related injuries are covered under Workers’ Compensation. This includes prescription medications and medical supplies.
♦ You must file your claim in New York with a C-3 Employee Claim document, and under very strict time limitations.
♦ Disability payments are covered through Workers’ Compensation and usually amount to two-thirds of your “regular” or pre-injury pay. These payments are non-taxable.
♦ Work-related overuse injuries like back problems or arthritic issues and carpel tunnel syndrome can be covered under Workers’ Compensation.
♦ Certain injured workers with permanent injuries may be entitled to a settlement of their claim.
Contact us if you have any additional questions related to Workers’ Compensation
About Losi & Gangi
The law firm of Losi & Gangi is a general partnership of attorneys concentrating the majority of their practice on workers’ compensation matters and personal injury law. The firm consists of partners David Paul Losi, Jeffery D. Gangi and Harry G. Modeas, with associate attorneys Thorice M. Jacobs and Brett A Miller. In addition to our attorneys, the firm also employs a licensed workers’ compensation claimant’s representative, Jay P. Boardway.