Although every Schenectady, New York, worker who gets hurt or falls ill while on the job hopes that the workers’ compensation process will go smoothly for them, such is unfortunately not always the case. Whether there is a legitimate legal dispute or an employer or insurance company is simply taking an aggressive settlement position, a worker may wind up having to pursue an appeal in order to get the benefits he or she both needs and deserves.
Like other states, New York has a specialized appeal process that does not involve going straight to court. If a hearing is necessary, then the matter will get referred to a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge. This judge will, like judges in traditional courtrooms, take evidence and make a legal decision.
Within 30 days of this judge’s decision, a party who is not satisfied may ask a three-member panel of New York’s Workers’ Compensation Board to review the matter further. The Board may uphold or overturn the judge’s decision, or it may choose to remand the case so the judge can collect additional evidence. If this panel cannot agree unanimously on a decision, then the matter goes can be appealed to the full Board for further review.
If someone still thinks there are errors in the Board’s decision, that party can continue to appeal by first, and again within 30 days, referring the case to an intermediate New York appellate court. An appeal from that court is to the highest court in the state, the New York Court of Appeals.
It should be noted that all benefits which are not contested must be timely paid. An insurance company or employer cannot withhold all payment simply by appealing one or two minor line items. Further, once the Board makes a ruling, the employer must pay as ordered, even if the employer intends to appeal further.