How Filing For a Workers’ Comp Case Will Affect An Employer

By | Workers Compensation

Workers’ compensation is insurance that provides cash or medical care benefits for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job. Employers must pay for this insurance, and may not require the employee to contribute to any cost necessary for  compensation. Weekly benefits such as monetary payments and medical care are given by the employer’s insurance carrier, as directed by the Workers’ Compensation Board, a state agency that processes the claims.

It is not enough to just have insurance as an employer. It is the employer’s responsibility to also provide immediate emergency medical treatment for employees who are injured on the job. They must complete a full report of the injury, with the injured worker’s review and mail it to the nearest workers’ compensation board office within a timely manner.

A claim is paid if the employer or insurance carrier agrees that the injury or illness is work-related. If the employer or insurance carrier disputes the claim, no cash benefits are paid until the workers’ compensation law judge decides who is right. If a worker is not receiving benefits because the employer or insurance carrier is arguing that the injury is not job-related, he or she may be eligible for disability benefits in the meantime. Any payments made under the Disability Program, however, will be deducted from future workers’ compensation awards.

In a workers’ compensation case, neither party is determined to be “at fault”. The amount that a worker receives is not decreased by perceived carelessness, nor increased by an employer’s fault. Although workers’ compensation laws provide treatment to injured employees, they are also meant to protect employers, as they are designed to be the only remedy that injured employees may seek from their employers. One may find that an employer frowns upon employees who file workers’ compensation benefit claims, and some blatantly discriminate against such employees.

Most states prohibit employers from punishing, discriminating against, or discharging employees who exercise their rights under workers’ compensation laws, and allow employees to bring civil actions against their employers for the tort of “retaliatory discharge.”

It is of the business owners best interest to comply with the rules and regulations set forth by the Workers’ Compensation Board. Failure to do so could easily result in further fees, punishments or even lawsuits.

If you or someone you know has been injured at work or is dealing with a workers’ compensation case, call Losi & Gangi at 716-854-1446 and speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

This article has been adapted from information gathered from other sources including http://www.wcb.ny.gov/.

Losi & Gangi Teams Up With Bills, Sabres and Bandits for 2018 – 2019 Season

By | Uncategorized

Losi & Gangi is extremely proud to continue our sponsorship with Pegula Sports Entertainment and WGR 550 AM for the 2018-2019 Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, and Buffalo Bandits season.

We hope to see you at the remaining Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits home games at Key Bank Center this season! Glance up to the jumbotrons throughout the games to see your favorite team of attorneys, dedicated to working hard for our hard working Western New Yorkers.  Losi & Gangi is featured in the customized TV broadcast program, Rayzor’s Edge, and Post Game – 3 Stars of the game during any televised Sabres game on MSG Networks. Our logo is displayed during all of the Buffalo Bandits home game replays in the 2019 lacrosse season.

Click here to see our branding in a clip of the Buffalo Bandits vs Georgia Swarm televised NLL game where Corey Small scores his 600th career point! Congratulations Corey!

Losi & Gangi Acquires Two Law Firms in Two Years Expanding Injured Workers Practice

By | Personal Injury, Workers Compensation

Since its formation in 2000, the law firm of Losi & Gangi has seen steady growth in the areas of workers compensation and personal injury cases.  Led by managing partner Jeff Gangi, the firm has seen accelerated growth over the past two years with the acquisition or two long-standing workers compensation firms.  In 2017, Losi & Gangi acquired the law practice of Giles Manias. Manias has more than 30 years of experience as a workers compensation and personal injury attorney and remains of counsel at Losi & Gangi. 

In 2018, Losi & Gangi acquired the law firm of attorney Thomas Ansuini.  Ansuini’s firm also concentrated on workers compensation cases and is well-established in Western New York.  Ansuini remains of counsel at Losi & Gangi and active cases have been transitioned to Losi & Gangi.

Founded almost 20 years ago, Losi & Gangi Attorneys has represented injured workers in the practice areas of Workers Compensation and Personal Injury.  Losi & Gangi has been recognized as one of the top law firms in Western New York by Buffalo Business First.  The publication ranks law firms annually and the firm is honored to be included on this prestigious list. The firm includes 9 associate attorneys and three partners. In 2018, Losi & Gangi recovered more than $22 million dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients.

Losi & Gangi welcomes our new clients and they are encouraged to contact us with any questions they may have regarding their cases at (716) 854-1446.

Losi & Gangi Named a Top Law Firm in Western New York

By | Uncategorized

Losi & Gangi has been recognized as one of the top law firms in Western New York by Buffalo Business First.  The publication ranks law firms annually and the firm is honored to be included on this prestigious list. Established in 2000, Losi & Gangi focuses on representing injured workers in worker’s compensation and personal injury matters.  The firm includes 9 associate attorneys and three partners.  In 2018, Losi & Gangi recovered more than $22 million dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients.

Car Accident Law and the Steps You Should Take Following a Car Accident

By | Personal Injury

Car accident law refers to the legal rules that determine who is responsible for the personal and property damage resulting from a traffic collision.  This area of law includes the principles of negligence, as applied to this specific category of personal injury cases.  Like other cases in which negligence law applies, car accident litigation is governed almost entirely by state law.

Car accident victims in every state must prove the same basic four elements in order to recover compensation.  The four elements are duty, breach, causation and harm.  Drivers have a legal obligation to obey the rules of the road and to operate their vehicles in a reasonable matter.  This includes driving at safe speeds, maintaining control of your vehicle, being aware of your surroundings, observing traffic signals and patterns and using your blinkers and headlights when necessary.

The plaintiff will usually be required to offer evidence that the defendant breached duty.  Breach can be shown by direct evidence, such as eyewitness testimony, traffic surveillance video or an admission of fault.  The plaintiff may need to resort to circumstantial evidence, such as tire marks, damages to the vehicle, paint smudges and scratches or blood alcohol readings.

Even if the defendant had a duty to operate their vehicle and it is shown that the defendant breached that duty, the court will not assume that under those circumstances it was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.   The plaintiff must prove in their medical testimony, that their injuries were due to the crash and did not exist beforehand.

Lastly, the plaintiff must prove harm.  No matter how extreme the other driver’s conduct was behind the wheel, the plaintiff cannot bring a negligence lawsuit unless the conduct produced damage to the plaintiff themselves or their vehicle.  Near miss and close call cases will not qualify.  Once harm is shown, the plaintiff may be entitled for compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages from work and more.

Steps You Should Take Following a Car Accident

The first thing to do after the car accident is to remain silent about who is to blame for the incident.  Admitting fault is the most common mistake people make after they have been involved in an accident.  The rules of evidence do not allow out-of-court statements, otherwise known as hearsay but there is an acceptation for admissions. 

It is important to take photographs and notes of any statements made by the other driver who was involved in the accident.  Gather as much detailed information as possible such as the other drier’s name, address, license plate number, drivers license and insurance information.  Take a photo of any damage done to the car, the nearest buildings, street signs and the area where the accident happened.  If there was a witness present, get their contact information and descriptions of anything they saw.  Call the police to file an accident report.  Ask for a copy of the report for your records and write down the names of the police officers whom you spoke to.

If you are in pain, you should seek medical attention immediately.  This includes whiplash, which may not exhibit any symptoms at first but can flare up at a later date.  As a potential plaintiff in a negligence case, you do not want the other driver’s attorney to discredit the severity of your injuries if you didn’t seek medical treatment right away.

Contacting a personal injury attorney after your accident is critical in helping you get the compensation you deserve.  Call the attorneys at Losi-Gangi today at 716-854-1446 and we will schedule time to discuss your case. 

How to Handle a Construction Accident

By | Uncategorized

About 1 in 10 construction site workers are injured every single year. Often times, this may result in lifelong pain and prevent you from continuing your trade. It is important that all construction workers are aware of the steps they need to take should they find themselves injured on a construction site.

Step 1: Seek Medical Attention

No matter how big or small you think your injury is, it is important to seek the proper medical attention immediately after the accident. Do not try to be a hero and wait until after your shift. If you are in pain, seek medical assistance or call 9-1-1 immediately.

Step 2: Preserve Evidence

Once your medical issues are resolved and documented, begin to compile your evidence of the incident. This includes documenting the names of all those involved and any bystanders that may have witnessed the accident. Make sure to take photos or videos of the site where the accident occurred. If you are too injured to go back to the site yourself, have someone else at the site take the photos for you.

Step 3: Notify Your Supervisor

Next, make sure your immediate supervisor knows about the incident. This will help them take the necessary precautions to make sure no other workers are injured on site.

Step Four: File Necessary Reports

If three or more workers are involved and hospitalized, the employer needs to report the incident to OSHA within 8 hours of the accident. They should be prepared to provide the business name, names of the employees affected, the location and time of incident, a brief description of the incident and a contact person with their phone number. Do not assume your employer filed out the report, contact them after the incident to make sure it is filled out. Call the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-6742, or report the accident online at the https://www.osha.gov/report.html.

Personally, you should report the accident to your company’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. While workers’ compensation insurance helps to protect employers from potential lawsuits, it is still possible for an injured employee to bring suit against the employer.

Step Five: Hire a Firm That Works Hard For Hard Working Workers

Through all steps, it is important that you receive the proper guidance and support. Whether you are unsure if you need additional evidence or are ready to start your claim contact us to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve.

We are here to help every step of the way. Call 716-854-1446 to speak with one of the attorneys at Losi & Gangi.

When Can I Receive Permanent Disability Benefits After a Workers’ Comp Claim?

By | Workers Compensation

If you have become permanently disabled from a workplace injury, you may be able to receive permanent disability benefits. Before receiving these benefits, you will have go through lengthy legal and medical steps required by New York State to show that your medical condition isn’t likely to change and that it either prevents you from working at all or limits your ability to work and earn your former wages. If you have completely recovered from your injury, you will not be eligible for further indemnity benefits, but you remain eligible for medical treatment.

To qualify for any workers’ comp benefits you must show that you meet all of the basic eligibility requirements such as

• Your employer must have workers’ comp insurance

• You must be an eligible employee at that company

• You must have an injury or illness that’s covered by workers’ comp and is work related

• You must file a workers’ comp claim under the procedures and deadlines in New York State

• You must follow New York State’s rules for getting medical treatment from a workers’ comp treating doctor

To even be considered for permanent disability benefits, your workers’ comp treating doctor needs to prove that you’ve reached a plateau in your recovery. This means that your condition isn’t expected to improve any further with more treatment. This is known as maximum medical improvement (MMI).

It may take you a few months to a few years to reach MMI after you were first hurt on the job. The degree of severity of your injury will have the biggest impact on how long it takes. A broken bone will differ from exposure to toxic chemicals resulting in cancer or other occupational illness.Other factors such as the medical treatments available for your injury or if your insurance company has been dragging their feet on approving any procedures or surgeries may come into play.

Once your doctor has determined you’ve reached MMI, the process starts to determine whether you have any and if so, how much permanent disability. This is the time when you stop receiving temporarily disability payments if you have been out of work and they haven’t run out yet. Typically, your treating doctor will say whether you have a lasting medical condition or lost function otherwise known as an impairment, that resulted from your work-related injury or illness. An impairment can be anything from a bad back to a missing limb to a painkiller dependency from medication you had to take for your injury.

Your insurance company may request an independent medical examination (IME) to determine what your permanent impairments are.  States have different criteria for using the medical information about impairments to decide whether injured employees have permanent disabilities that affect their ability to perform certain tasks at work or to even work at all. The result of this process is called your “loss of wage earning capacity”, (LOWEC)  and is expressed in a percentage.

There are times you don’t have to prove that you can’t work at all in order to receive permanent disability benefits. If you lost your eyes or an appendage you may already be considered permanently disabled. If you have a combination of permanent impairments that add up to a 100% disability rating, you may also qualify for permanent disability benefits. If your disability rating is less than 100%, you may be able to receive some kind of  permanent partial disability benefits.

Once the Worker’s Compensation Board hears from a doctor that you have a permanent disability, they will begin the process of establishing your level of disability. If there is any sort of dispute,  whether it is over the amount of permanent disability to if you have any lasting impairments, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Since the process is complicated, insurance companies and their lawyers do everything in their power to keep their costs down by minimizing or denying permanent disability benefits. This is when you need an experienced attorney representing you and helping protect your rights.

Unfortunately, permanent disability benefits may not necessarily last the rest of your life. If you are classified  totally and permanently disabled, you’ll usually receive  lifetime  benefits,  but if you only have permanent partial disability you may be limited to how long the benefits will last. Whether your benefits are for partial or total permanent disability, you may be able to opt for a lump sum payment in a workers’ comp settlement. Losi & Gangi Attorneys are here to help answer any of your workers’ compensation  questions and ensure you are fairly represented in your worker’s compensation claim.. Give us a call today at 716-854-1446 and one of our attorneys will assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve.

What Happens To My Privacy In A Workers Compensation Case?

By | Uncategorized

4 things to know about your privacy rights 

Before working with us on your workers comp case, it is important to know exactly what you are getting into. Workers Compensation Cases are stressful enough so to add an element of surprise isn’t the ideal scenario. Let’s make sure that you understand your privacy rights during a workers compensation case 

Your records are private & should remain that way

In NY, your records are private documents. Only the parties to a claim, the employer, employer’s attorney and the employer’s workers compensation insurer and its attorney may receive information from that claim’s case file. 

Your social media could be used against you

A big red flag to be aware of is that in some cases, investigators’ will request passwords to your private social media accounts. If you refuse, they may be able to subpoena your passwords. Be conscious of what you are posting on Facebook and other platforms after you are injured at work. It may be used against you to make it look like the injury was pre-existing or that the injury was extremely minor. 

Signing a confidentiality agreement may not be the best choice

There are times that the employer may want the injured worker to keep the amount and terms confidential. Initially, this may not seem like a big deal to you. Yet depending on how you receive the money, signing an agreement could cause your settlement to be taxed. This could make your settlement significantly smaller than originally intended. 

The Privacy Rule isn’t Perfect

“The Privacy Rule recognizes the legitimate need of insurers and other entities involved in the workers’ compensation systems to have access to individuals’ health information as authorized by State or other law.” This rule holds violators accountable, with civil and criminal penalties and ultimately limits the release of information to the minimum needed for the purpose of the disclosure. While this may sound great, keep in mind that “minimum needed” leaves room for discussion. Since this is a very subjective term, the “minimum” could end up being more information than you had originally intended.

No Worker’s Compensation Case is the same. You may experience one or all of these during your case so it is important to have a basic understanding of the issues at hand.

In order to make sure you know how to protect your privacy, give us a call at 716-854-1446.

Article adapted from:

New York State Workers’ Compensation Board & U.S Department of Health and Human Services

Workers’ Comp Denied? Here is What You Can Do About It

By | Workers Compensation

If you were injured on the job or developed a medical condition because of your work (cumulative trauma like a repetitive strain injury (RSI) you are probably hoping to receive workers’ compensation benefits.  Workplace injuries are generally covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.  Many states require employers to be covered in accordance with the average level of risk for that particular industry.  What can you do if your claim has been denied?  You may be able to appeal your denial through your state’s board of workers’ compensation. 

Employers or their insurance companies sometimes look for any possible reason to deny workers’ comp claims.  The first thing you need to do is determine the reason why your claim was denied.  The details should be explained in your denial letter.  In New York State that form is called a SRO 1-04.  If you believe your denial was done in error you can appeal. 

Common Reasons for Denial of Workers’ Comp Claims

Your employer may say that you weren’t working when you were injured, or that you were involved in some sort of horseplay or misconduct, or that your current medical condition is not a direct result of an accident at the workplace.  Whatever your reason for filing the workplace injury claim, you will need to gather sufficient evidence to support the claim.  Some examples include, witness testimonials, or medical evidence and records.  If the doctor that is treating you has already stated that your current condition was due to an injury at work, but your insurance company disagrees, you may need to get schedule another medical evaluation to get an additional doctor’s opinion.

The law in your state may have special restrictions on workers’ comp claims for increasing trauma or psychological conditions.  Some states rule out workers’ comp benefits for illnesses caused by long-term stress at work.

In most cases, you must receive medical treatment in order to receive workers’ comp benefits.  If you deny or do not seek out medical treatment your claim may be denied.  When you discuss the extent of your injury with your employer, they should pull out the employee handbook to review their policies and procedures.  Employees that initially report the injury but refuse treatment may see that their workers’ compensation benefits are suspended.  Your employer may not allow you back at work until you pass a medical clearance test to determine if you can perform your everyday duties. 

Timing is everything when it comes to filing a workers’ comp claim.  You should immediately report your injury with human resources and make it clear that you were hurt on the job.  Check with state laws to see what your timeframe is to file your workers’ comp claim. If you did not adhere to the state laws, your claim could be denied.  This goes for both reporting your injury and filing your claim in time.  Many states include limited exceptions for when the injured employee couldn’t file a claim right away because they were in a coma, severe injuries that required immediate and prolonged treatment or surgery (burns) or the employee had to remain quarantined.  Don’t hesitate to file a claim even if your injury seems minor.  It could get worse as time goes on especially if you have neck or back injuries.  If you happen to file a claim and the injury gets better on its own, the claim will be closed but if you wait to file you could lose the chance to get benefits or risk the claim being denied. 

Have you recently quit, been laid off or fired from the job where you filed your workers’ comp claim?  Insurance agencies usually deny claims that were filed after you left the company.  Did you report the injury while you were still employed there or during the time that you gave your notice?  Some states have special rules for workers’ comp claims that were filed after you left your job.  If you qualify for one of these exceptions you may be able to receive workers comp. 

So Your Claim Was Denied, Whats Next?

Don’t feel like you won’t be receiving workers’ comp benefits just because your claim was initially denied.  Double check and reread the letter that was sent to you saying that your claim was denied.  The reasons should be listed but if you feel that it had to do with paperwork or a similar mistake, you should contact your claims adjuster and employer to explain your situation.  In most cases you will have to consider appealing the denial.  Your letter should give a deadline for filing your appeal, which is determined by state law.  The first level of the appeal will be a hearing where you will have to provide medical and any other type of evidence that supports your claim in front of an administrative law judge.  The hearing can be done through your state labor department or state board of workers’ compensation. 

If you still want to appeal the decision, you should look into getting a workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible.  A lawyer will help you determine whether or not an appeal would be the best route.  Since the deadlines for workers’ comp are short you don’t want to miss out on receiving your benefits because you we’re late.  You will want to bring any documentation, medical records and reports that state your case to your court date. 

If you have any questions about your workers’ compensation claim or would like more information, call Losi & Gangi at 716-854-1446. 

How Do You Know If Your Personal Injury Is Sufficient For a Lawsuit?

By | Personal Injury

Most people will experience some sort of injury during their lifetime.  Having an injury doesn’t necessarily mean you should seek out legal claim since some injuries are attributed to age, genetics or an unavoidable accident.  When another person is legally at fault for the incident that led to your injury, you may have a valid legal claim and grounds for a lawsuit. 

Do You Have a Legal Claim?

A legal claim can be made through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance action.  You are able to recover compensation for damages when someone else is legally responsible for causing the accident or creating any of the factors that led up to the injury.  The injury claim is made to allow the injured person to recover compensation for the jury.  This includes damages such as lost wages, medical expenses and sometimes emotional distress and pain and suffering. 

General Types of Incidents & Legal Claims

Type of Case

Cause of Action

Liable Party

Source of Compensation

Car Accident

Driver’s Negligence

At-fault driver (unless you are in a no-fault state)

Insurance Claim/Civil Lawsuit

Slip and Fall

Property Owner’s Negligence

Property Owner

Insurance Claim/Civil Lawsuit

Medical Malpractice

Medical Negligence

Doctor/Medical Professional, Hospital or both

Insurance Claim/Civil Lawsuit

Workplace Accident

None

None

Workers Compensation Claim

Defective Product

Strict Liability

Product manufacturer

Civil Lawsuit/Class Action Lawsuit

Assault/Battery

International Tort

Aggressor/perpetrator

Civil Lawsuit

Animal Attack/Dog Bite

Owner’s Negligence

Animal Owner

Civil Lawsuit/Homeowners Insurance Claim

 

What You Need to Make Your Case

If you want to make an injury claim, you need to prove that the person who caused the injury, the one that you are making the claim against was negligent.  Being negligent means they breached a legal duty owed to you and the breach led to the accident and injuries resulted from it.  The person making the claim needs to prove this is true under personal injury law.  If your claim makes to trial, the legal standard which you must prove your case is by a preponderance of the evidence.  Preponderance of the evidence means you must prove to the judge or jury that everything you are alleging is true regarding the cause and extent of your injuries and the liability of the defendant.  Many times a case will not make it to trial, especially the verdict stage. Instead, a settlement may be reached between the two parties.

Not every injury case will come down to the question of whether or not the other party was negligent but most do.  If your injury was caused by a defective product, a workplace accident, or an intentional act, your claim will follow different rules (civil lawsuits).  If you suffered an injury while at work you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim under the procedures that New York State follows.  In almost every workplace accident, the worker who became injured is banned by law from suing their employer.

Necessary Evidence Needed to Prove Your Claim

If the kind of lawsuit you are bringing requires you to establish that the other party was negligent, this is the type of evidence you might need to fight your claim. 

  • Police reports documenting the circumstances and cause of the car accident
  • Incident reports written by the business or place where the injury occurred
  • Detailed eyewitness statements explaining where, when and how the injury happened
  • Photographs and evidence from the accident
  • Records of all medical treatment that was given due to the injury
  • Documentation of time missed at work and your income to support your lost wages claim
  • Testimony from a doctor or medical professional regarding the cause of your injury

Should You Talk to a Lawyer?

Figuring out if you have sufficient evidence to bring a lawsuit can be difficult especially if you are not sure what type of evidence you need and how to obtain it.  In most cases it is best to seek out an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help determine if you have a valid case.  If you have any questions you can reach out to Losi & Gangi.  One of our attorneys will be able to help.  Call us at 716-854-1446.