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Schenectady Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Can an attorney help speed up my disability appeal?

It is not a secret to many Schenectady, New York, residents that the process of getting Social Security Disability benefits can take a long time, as the Social Security Administration's backlog of cases is notoriously large. This means that New York residents often have to wait for months or even years in order to appeal their denial of benefits to an administrative law judge. Particularly for those who need these benefits because they are out of work and no longer have a livelihood, this wait can be very frustrating.

In one sense, an attorney can do anything to speed up the process other than make sure their client's application is thorough, accurate and complete to the extent that the Administration has no questions. The fact a lawyer appears for disability applicant does not automatically speed up the process. Nevertheless, there are certain things an attorney can do that may help.

How is my benefit for lost wages calculated?

One important step in New York's workers' compensation process is figuring out how much an injured worker will receive in order to compensate him or her for lost wages. Along with reimbursement for medical bills and expenses, the benefit an injured Schenectady resident receives for lost income is perhaps the most important aspect of the workers' compensation safety net, since an injured worker could otherwise be left without a livelihood while he or she recovers from an injury.

How much an injured worker in New York will receive depend on two factors. The first factor is how much a person was making per week, on average, prior to his or her injury or illness. While this can in most cases be a matter of collecting paystubs and tax returns, the state's Worker's Compensation Board is available if an injured employee cannot settle with the insurance company on the correct average weekly wage. In any event, the worker will be eligible, in theory, for two-thirds of his or her average wages.

Why free consultations could help your worker’s comp case

Many applicants for worker’s compensation in the Capital District fail. This could be because of an incomplete medical record or because of contradicting statements, no matter how innocent (for example, forgetting about a pre-existing condition when you first visit the doctor about your injury). The employer may successfully argue that the injury was sustained outside of the scope of job duties.

In short, there are many reasons that a worker’s compensation application might not be successful. Having an attorney on board often increases the odds of success. Even better, many firms offer free initial consultations so you do not have to shell out $100 or $200 apiece for each attorney you meet with.

OSHA postpones rule on safety reporting

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is giving employers more time to comply with a new rule which would require employees to report workers' injuries in electronic format. Although employers were expected to start electronic reporting on July 1 of this year, OSHA has given no indication of when it will expect electronic reports.

Employers already have an obligation to keep track of their workplace accidents involving an injury. However, this did not stop some groups of employers from opposing the new rule. Specifically, some employers are worried that the new process will in fact give trade unions or even individual activist workers the ability to look at an employer's safety record and then use it to harm a company's reputation.

If the accident was my fault, can I still get SSD benefits?

A previous post on this blog mentioned that a Schenectady, New York, resident who gets injured at work may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits by filing an application with the Social Security Administration. These benefits may be an important component of a New Yorker's overall plan to maintain financial stability following an accident.

As this post alluded to, Social Security disability benefits are, generally speaking, awarded without regard to fault, just like workers' compensation benefits. This means that a New Yorker applying for disability benefits has no obligation to prove that he or she was not responsible for his or her injury, much less that someone else was negligent.

Injured workers should identify all sources of compensation

As other posts on this blog have discussed, our law firm is dedicated to helping New York employees who are injured on the job get the benefits that they both deserve, and will likely need, in order to make ends meet.

The first place we look with respect to benefits is workers' compensation. These benefits are awarded without regard to whether a worker was at fault for his or her own injuries and are mandatory under New York's laws.

What effect will workers’ comp have on my Social Security?

If you are currently receiving workers’ compensation in Schenectady for a work injury, then you may also qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits. Your injuries must last for at least 12 months and keep you from engaging in gainful employment. There are stipulations in place that can affect how much you can receive. Having a good understanding of the effects can help you to maximize your benefits.

Here is a brief overview of how your workers’ compensation payments can affect your Social Security disability benefits.

New York construction boss charged in workplace death

An owner of a construction firm in the state of New York now finds himself accused of manslaughter because he failed to help his employees secure a retaining wall even after he had been warned that the wall was not safe. After the boss ignored the warning, the wall collapsed, inflicted a fatal on-the-job injury upon an 18-year-old worker, and also hurt two more of the boss's employees.

The man also faces additional charges such as "falsifying business records." Some of these charges may be unrelated to the fatal workplace accident, but they suggest a pattern of poor and even outright dishonest business practices.

If I get hurt at work, is workers' compensation all I can get?

Even when safety precautions are taken in Schenectady, New York, residents who go to work daily are often in many ways risking their lives and health. Particularly for those who work in manual or inherently dangerous occupations, like in construction or manufacturing, the reality is that employees may suffer serious workplace injuries from an accident that would have happened even if they exercised the utmost care in their work.

After getting medical treatment and taking the necessary time to process the situation, the first place a New Yorker who gets injured on the job should consider looking for compensation is his or her employer's workers' compensation insurance. Almost every employer in New York is required to carry this insurance, and it is there to provide for injured workers' medical bills and lost income without regard to whether the worker was at fault for the injury or illness.

Helping injured workers with work comp appeals

As a previous post on this blog discussed, while New York's workers' compensation process is designed to get a Schenectady, New York, resident back on his or her feet quickly after a workplace accident, sometimes there are disputes between the injured employee, the employer and the employer's insurance company.

When this happens, someone must make a decision about the right course of action, and this decision is not always in favor of the injured worker. However, if the worker feels that he or she has been unjustly treated on account of that decision, then the workers' compensation system in New York offers that worker several layers of appeals. In other words, no one who gets a bad result at first during the work comp process should think he or she should just give up.