Change coming to New York’s already complicated workers’ comp system

Workers' compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits to workers who are injured on the job or who suffer from a work-related illness. Workers' compensation benefits are provided on a no-fault basis, which is good for workers because it means they do not have to prove employer negligence and can be compensated even if they were to blame for causing their own injury. Workers' compensation is also a good system for employers, because it protects them against the unpredictable results of being sued for negligence.

While workers' comp may seem like a simple concept - if you're injured at work, you get the benefits you're entitled to - in reality, the New York workers' compensation system is a complex maze, with many levels of appeal and many places your claim for full benefits can fall along the wayside.

Private vendor to help Workers' Compensation Board with revamping system

Earlier in 2013, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board announced that it was launching an initiative to reengineer the business process of the state's workers' compensation system. The workers' compensation laws are not changing; change will come in the processing of claims and the experience of workers and employers.

Over the years, the workers' compensation system has become more and more difficult for the average claimant to navigate. Injured workers just want to get the payments they need, but according to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board, the system has become modern and sophisticated, but is reliant on infrastructure designed decades ago.

Late in the summer of 2013, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board hired Deloitte, a business advisory firm, as their business process reengineering vendor. Beginning this fall, the Board and Deloitte will be holding conversations with stakeholder worker and employer groups to listen to suggestions to better the system. Deloitte is slated to give final recommendations to the Board by mid-2014.

Get help in navigating the claims process from a New York workers' comp attorney

There are some things the New York workers' compensation system does well; there is a clear process in place for classification, for example. But there is not a defined process for carrying out the benefits, there is inconsistency in permanency findings, and appeals can drag on for months, time during which the injured claimant does not have access to the benefits he or she needs.

While the updates to the workers compensation system may eventually help alleviate some of these problems, a more modernized system will also come with an added layer of complexity. If you have been injured on the job, now more than ever you need professional legal help from a New York workers' compensation attorney.

Your attorney can help you navigate the workers' compensation system and give you the best chance at getting the benefits you need in a timely manner. If your claim is denied - and many perfectly valid claims are initially denied by workers' comp insurers as a cost-saving measure - your attorney can appeal on your behalf.

If you've been injured on the job, get the benefits you need, get your claim processed through the system efficiently and get in touch with a New York workers' comp lawyer.