If you were hurt on the job, you’re not automatically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Eligibility will depend on a number of factors including the steps you take—or fail to take—in the wake of the accident.
Let’s examine some of the most important steps to take following a workplace accident:
1. Seek Medical Care
Unless the circumstances constitute a medical emergency, seek prompt care from a provider who’s been authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board. If your employer is part of a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) program, your selection will be limited to physicians who participate in the arrangement. Additionally, your employer—or their insurance carrier—may have a say in the labs and pharmacies that you can use over the course of treatment.
2. Notify Your Supervisor
As soon as your condition stabilizes, submit written notice of your injuries and the way in which they occurred to your supervisor. Even if he or she witnessed the accident, you must notify him or her of the situation within 30 days or you could lose the right to receive benefits.
3. Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
It’s wise to consult an attorney before proceeding with your workers’ compensation claim. Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to file a personal injury claim instead. Since workers’ compensation doesn’t include funds for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, you may want to file a personal injury claim in lieu of filing an insurance claim if you have the grounds to do so.
4. File Your Claim
Regardless of whether you end up proceeding with a workers’ comp claim or a personal injury suit, time is of the essence because both have filing deadlines. For example, injured employees typically have two years from the date on which they were hurt in an accident or disabled by an occupational disease to seek workers’ compensation. As for filing a personal injury suit, the standard statute of limitations is three years, but only if the cause of action was negligence.
If the case involves an intentional tort, the filing deadline is just one year. And if you intend to bring a suit against a government agency, you must submit written notice within 90 days. You then have one year and 90 days from the date on which you were hurt to file suit.
5. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
Both workers’ comp claimants and personal injury plaintiffs are obligated to mitigate damages, which means following their doctor’s orders. Should you participate in activities that your physician prohibited or return to work before being instructed to do so, it could jeopardize the strength of your case.
Call 716-855-3761 to Discuss Your Case with a New York Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you were hurt in a workplace accident, contact LoTempio P.C. Law Group to determine the most strategic way to proceed. After evaluating the situation, we will let you know whether the circumstances warrant a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Call 716-855-3761 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in New York.