In New York, most companies must carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. After a job-related injury, workers’ comp can provide payment for medical bills as well as a portion of income lost during recovery. Other benefits may also be available if a worker becomes permanently disabled and/or cannot return to their former job.
Unfortunately, many workers who could apply for these important benefits fail to do so, either because they do not think they are eligible or because it could negatively impact their employer.
1. Injured workers must file a lawsuit
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance coverage. In most cases, workers can apply for benefits regardless of who was at fault. Rather than file a lawsuit, injured employees file a benefits claim with their employer’s insurance provider.
2. Only full-time workers are eligible
Under New York state law, employers must provide insurance coverage for all employees, regardless of their hours and/or tax status. Eligible employees may include part-time, temporary and unpaid workers (volunteers) as well as subcontractors and day laborers.
3. Undocumented workers cannot receive benefits
In New York, workers may be eligible for benefits even if they are not U.S. citizens and/or receive cash payments “off the books.”
4. Filing a claim could lead to job loss
It is against both state and federal law for employers to retaliate against an employee because he or she files a workers’ compensation claim.
It is important that workers begin filing a claim soon after experiencing a job injury. To receive needed benefits, workers must report their injury to their employer promptly, seek appropriate medical care and provide medical documentation to the WC insurance provider.