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Part of workers' compensation reforms challenged by lawsuit

No one likes to think about getting hurt at work, but it happens. Workplace accidents happen all the time in New York and around the country. While some workers may think that they are immune, most occupations include some sort of hazard. Safety regulations try to cut down on the amount of workplace accidents that occur, but even when these regulations are followed workplace injuries still occur.

When a worker is injured they may not be able to return to work immediately following the accident. As a result they could lose valuable income that they need to support their family. And, while medical insurance may cover some of the medical expenses relating to the workplace accident there can still be out-of-pocket costs for doctor visits and rehabilitation following the accident. Thankfully, workers' compensation is available to help cover these expenses and fill the gap in income until the injured worker can return to normal life.

Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed several workers' compensation reforms into law. These reforms are aimed at reducing the cost of workers' compensation and making the system more efficient for injured workers. Part of these reforms was to close the Fund for Reopened Cases. The government argued that this change will save employers $300 million. Workers' compensation insurance companies, on the other hand, argue that the change will drive up their costs. These insurance companies have now sued the state to stop the fund's closure. If the suit is not successful, the change will go into effect in Jan. 2014.

While cost savings may be important to insurance companies and to the state, nothing should come before the needs of those people injured on the job. Injured workers should make sure they know their rights and how all these new reforms will affect their workers' compensation benefits.

Source: Business Insurance, "Insurers file lawsuit over N.Y. workers comp law amendment," Roberto Ceniceros, Aug. 1, 2013

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