The value of an attorney in a New York workers’ compensation claim

A worker may be tempted to forego legal advice and representation, but it can make all the difference to involve an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

When a New York employee is hurt on the job or contracts an occupational disease, he or she has the right to workers' compensation benefits. While it should be clear and simple to file a claim, it can be far from it. From the start of a claim and at any point throughout the process, bringing on an experienced workers' compensation attorney to help navigate the system on behalf of the worker can make all the difference.

At our Schenectady law firm of Silverman, Silverman & Seligman, P.C., we have decades of experience representing workers' compensation claimants in upstate Capital District counties at the application, administrative appeal and court review stages of the process. New York workers' compensation law, regulations and procedures are extremely complicated and a lawyer with extensive experience before the New York Workers' Compensation Board and in state court can be of great benefit to a worker's claim.

File review

A knowledgeable lawyer will know what medical and vocational evidence should be reviewed as part of the claim before the Board. The attorney can assess:

  • Are records of treating doctors submitted, including test results? Should the claimant request a statement from a treating or examining physician?
  • Should the claimant undergo an assessment by a medical specialist because symptoms suggest additional diagnoses may be present?
  • Would witness statements be helpful?

Other benefit programs and legal remedies

At our law firm, we also represent people before the Social Security Administration in applications for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI. Some people may be eligible for both SSDI and workers' compensation, although there may be some payment set offs.

Legal counsel should assess and facilitate applications and claims for other benefits, including:

  • SSDI
  • Short- or long-term private disability insurance
  • State disability benefits
  • State unemployment benefits

In addition, the lawyer should investigate the injury or illness that is the subject of the workers' compensation claim to uncover potentially liable third parties. For example, a negligent driver that caused an accident while the worker was driving on the job or the manufacturer of defective equipment that malfunctioned and caused a workplace injury might be liable in a personal injury lawsuit. While normally the injured worker cannot sue the employer in such a mishap, negligent third parties may have legal responsibility.

Understand complexities of the law

A skilled lawyer can provide a workers' compensation claimant with advice about:

  • Whether the claimant must look for work that he or she could do despite medical limitations and how to prove this effort
  • Proposed settlements
  • Mandatory medical examinations
  • Deadlines and appeals
  • Calculation of benefit rates, amounts and caps
  • Problems with payments not arriving, arriving late or in the wrong amounts
  • And more

An attorney who has represented many claimants will be able to spot and resolve important legal issues such as how to prove the disabling impact of subjective complaints like pain and fatigue caused by work-related harm, the link between an illness like cancer and the job, or the aggravation of a preexisting medical condition by a new work injury or occupational disease.

If appropriate, legal counsel can advocate on these and other issues on behalf of the claimant in negotiation with the employer or its insurer, in a hearing before the Board or, if necessary, in an appeal to state court.

At Silverman, Silverman & Seligman, P.C., we assist injured and ill workers' compensation claimants every single day with these and related matters with skill and compassion. We have a close relationship with every one of our clients and remain in regular contact with each one as their claim requires.