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New York Workers' Compensation Blog

Weekly wage may average 2 wages for workers' compensation amount

When a worker in New York City is injured at work, the injuries suffered must be covered by workers' compensation benefits, which is a basic principle of coverage applicable in all states. What happens when the worker has two jobs and is injured when off duty for his or her main job? It depends on the facts, but every worker must be covered for workers' compensation benefits by each employer for whom he or she works.

This means that when an injury occurs, for example, to a full-time employee of a municipality, but the employee was at a lesser-paying second job at the time of the injury, then the municipality generally has no liability to cover the accident. It is the second employer's insurance that must pay the employee's workers' compensation benefits. This issue arose recently in another state where a veteran fire department firefighter was injured in an "off-duty accident.

Employer charged after 1 death, 2 construction injuries at site

One of the cardinal rules of workers' compensation is that the employee cannot sue the employer. As a trade-off, claims are supposed to be paid quickly and without hassle, regardless of fault. Regarding construction injuries and related mishaps, that premise often has resulted in greater benefit to the employer and substantial hardship to the employee, both in New York City and nationwide.

With comp insurers being able to finance long fights against financially strapped construction workers, the system has worked great hardship in many instances. In Brooklyn recently, however, the authorities stepped in to send a message to employers in the construction trade:  if you recklessly expose your workers to danger and don't implement preventive measures, you will be exposed to criminal responsibility. The Brooklyn Acting District Attorney announced the arrest of a Bedford-Stuyvesant construction company owner in response to the owner's alleged ignoring of basic safety protocols.

Workplace injuries hit new workers in greater numbers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that about 40 percent of injured workers are in their first year on the job. Why do new workers have such a high risk of injury in their first year? In New York City and nationwide, the reasons for many first-year workplace injuries follow a pattern that employers must work to change.

For one thing, supervisors and foremen often take it for granted that new workers have experience from prior jobs and that they are therefore well-versed in safety practices. That is not always true, however, because the new worker may not have received the pertinent safety training on his or her prior work experiences. In addition, some new workers have not been in the industry or have not worked for years.

Workers' compensation carrier uses computer models in treatment

For New York City construction workers and other workers in the city, chronic pain is a central aspect of many workplace injuries. A major workers' compensation insurer, Travelers, has initiated a predictive model that it asserts focuses more intensively on the worker's treatment needs sooner after the injury occurs. This allegedly results in a shorter recovery period and counters the use of opioids in the treatment of such pain.

However, any insurer's programs must be weighed over a long period of time and must keep in perspective the company's obvious bias toward reducing compensation expenditures. One seemingly good aspect of the computerized reporting of data under the insurer's program is the use of early alternative therapies to attack chronic pain before it rages out-of-hand. The company asserts that it has had great success by using physical therapy, acupuncture, aquatic therapy and cognitive therapy, early after the injury to combat the progression of chronic pain.

4 questions you may have about workers' compensation

After suffering a serious injury while on the job, you may have many questions regarding how to handle the predicament. Many individuals experience confusion and uncertainty after such an incident because more factors go into addressing the situation than expected, especially when it comes to receiving workers' compensation. Therefore, you should not feel discouraged if you do not immediately know how to move forward.

Of course, rather than letting that confusion hinder your attempts at gaining compensation, you may wish to gain more information. Reliable information and assistance from knowledgeable professionals could allow you to feel more confident about seeking benefits for your injury.

Workers' compensation problems proliferate for temp workers

An issue in all states concerns the plight of temporary workers. Temp workers usually are treated as second-class citizens regarding their rights to training, safety measures and the collection of workers' compensation benefits. Temp workers in New York City are often in the nonunion sector where workers are injured more often due to a lack of training and lesser safety protections.

The problem is that temp workers are not employed by the company where they are sent to work. The worker actually remains an employee of the employment agency. Thus, workers' compensation premiums and unemployment compensation are paid for and managed by the temp agency.

Employer can't fire a worker for claiming workers' compensation

When a worker is injured on the job in New York City, he or she will be eligible for workers' compensation benefits for any medical care necessary to recover from the injury. If the worker not only receives medical treatment but is also disabled and unable to go back to work for any period of time, then lost wages are paid as per state workers' compensation statutes. It often occurs that the worker remains disabled in the opinion of the treating physician, but in the opinion of the physician retained by the employer, the worker can go back to work immediately.

When that type of dispute arises, the worker will be best served by immediately obtaining a free consultation with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. That will assure that the worker does not lose vital rights by agreeing to something that may be an unfair demand by the employer. In some instances, the foregoing facts may be reversed in a sense.

Construction injuries may lead to workers' compensation issues

Construction workers generally endure a high-risk factor for on-the-job injuries. Regarding the incidence of construction injuries in New York City and elsewhere, a lot may depend on whether the employer imposes sufficient safety protections at the worksite. Studies report that in many non-union sites employers are lax on safety protections due to a relative lack of oversight.

The foregoing problem is not probable on a big project like the new Tappan Zee Bridge, which is more than likely a union-based collection of contractors and subcontractors. One worker did suffer an injury at the worksite recently when he apparently lost his footing and injured his ankle. He was installing electrical systems about 24 feet below the roadway and had to be rescued.

Man suffers workplace injuries in explosion while welding

Regardless of the occupation, there are certain risks associated with it. Both workers and employers in New York City work to ensure that health and safety standards are met, but many hazards are difficult to anticipate. Unfortunately, one man in another state recently suffered workplace injuries in an explosion.

The incident happened one morning on a day in early April. According to reports, the 41-year-old victim was welding a holding tank used for water solvent. He was working alone at the time.

Dropping tools on some construction sites can prove deadly

Did you know that statistics of safety violations issued for the lack of fall protection include tools? The probability of dropping tools is extremely high, and when it happens high up on a scaffold, even a small piece of equipment can cause death. Imagine a small car striking an area of one square inch -- the force would be similar to an eight-pound wrench that drops from a height of 200 feet. It would hit the ground -- or anything in its way -- with a 2,833-pound per square inch force.

One tragic accident involving construction workers that underscores the dangers of falling tools occurred in a state neighboring New York. A trucking company used an independent contractor to make a delivery at a construction site. A deliveryman was leaning into a car while speaking to someone, and as he pulled back from the window, a tape measure weighing one pound struck him in the head. A worker who was 50 stories above the ground dropped it accidentally. The deliveryman did not survive the incident.

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