Workers in Schenectady County often have to deal with work costs they did not expect, be it travel expenses, higher union fees or simply when a toll on a road is increased. However, when a worker sustains a workplace injury, worker’s compensation is often not only difficult to obtain to cover the costs of living, but requires having to jump through many bureaucratic hoops just to get it. And then the injured worker faces an uphill battle getting a physician to treat them.

Many of these problems were supposed to change back in 2007. Worker’s compensation reform was enacted, and was supposed to help an injured worker in a few ways. First, it increased the weekly payments to the worker and increased the payments to the worker’s physicians. Next, the administration and bureaucracy involved was supposedly made more efficient, so that settlements could be paid faster. It should also have reduced non-medical costs. However, five years later, this has largely not been the case. If anything, during that time costs have actually increased.

That all means it is important for a worker who is injured to understand the types of injuries he should be able to collect for. If a worker has a preexisting condition that the workplace aggravates, then a worker could collect for that, even if the pain is not noticed until later. If a worker is injured during a work-related activity, but not directly while performing his job, such as during lunch, a break or at a work-sponsored activity, that is something a worker can collect for. Some diseases that are contracted by the worker while at work, if it was due to exposure from toxins or some hazardous material at the job, are also something a worker can collect for. Finally, any mental or physical illness, brought about by the stress of the job, could be injuries the worker can collect on.

Any type of workplace injury is difficult for the worker to deal with. Getting the worker’s compensation that the worker is entitled to is one way to help that worker to recover.

Source: Insurance Journal, “N.Y. Group Calls on Workers’ Comp Board to Fully Implement Reforms,” Oct. 22, 2012