Accidents are an unfortunate part of many employees’ lives. Sometimes, no matter how cautious workers are, workplace injuries occur. These injuries can leave an injured worker unable to work for a time, or even leave them permanently disabled. New York workers can also end up with large medical bills from the accident. However, injured workers are often not responsible for paying for these costs.

Workers’ compensation can pay for costs associated with a workplace injury, including medical expenses, lost wages and any other expenses related to the injury. In order to ensure employers will have the money to pay workers’ compensation claims in the case of an accident, the state of New York requires businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Recently, New York insurance companies have requested an increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums for businesses. They suggested an increase of around 11 percent. However, on July 17, Governor Andrew Cuomo rejected this proposal.

Instead, Governor Cuomo lowered insurance premiums for the first time since 2008 in an effort to make New York more business friendly. Businesses will now see a reduction of 1.2 percent.

Furthermore, Governor Cuomo promised to implement workers’ compensation reforms which were passed back in 2007. These reforms would define treatment plans for certain injuries or illnesses suffered by employees, including carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic pain. According to some, these reforms will lower workers’ compensation costs for businesses and make the system more effective for injured workers.

With these changes to workers’ compensation, it is important not to forget who the program was designed to protect – injured workers. While cost cutting may be good for businesses, it should not interfere with workers’ ability to collect the compensation they need and deserve.

Source: Buffalo News, “State nixes workers comp premium hike,” Tom Precious, July 17, 2012