NYS Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Syracuse, NY Workers’ Compensation Lawyers-MCV Law

Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Syracuse, NY
Over 30 years of experience in protecting the rights and dignity of Central New York’s workers.

Since 1983, the Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Meggesto, Crossett & Valerino, LLP have appeared before the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board and the New York Supreme Court representing injured workers and their families across central New York. Our attorneys are active members of the Injured Workers Bar Association of New York, The New York State Bar Association and the Workplace Injury Law and Advocacy Group.

Our experienced Workers’ Comp. lawyers near Syracuse, NY, sometimes colloquially referred to as work compensation lawyers, work injury lawyers or work compensation lawyers, have helped hundreds of injured workers while protecting their rights. The Workers’ Compensation system in New York is complicated. The NYS Workers’ Compensation lawyers at MCV Law understand the law, the procedures of the workers’ compensation board, and their application in real life. Our Work Compensation Lawyers near Syracuse, NY take time to review each case, meet with the injured worker and formulate a strategy tailored to the particular needs of the case. We employ a skilled staff that is available to help with day-to-day issues, such as prescriptions, mileage reimbursement, and return-to-work issues. Our firm helps injured workers at all stages of their claim, from initial filing, to hearings, to negotiations, and ultimately to a resolution or settlement.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

In New York State, Workers’ Compensation is one of the very few means for injured workers to defend their rights when they’ve become injured or sick while on the job. To be eligible for NYS Workers’ Compensation benefits, your injuries or illness must be directly related to your occupation.

There are two types of work injury claims that fall within eligibility standards for NYS Workers’ Compensation. The first type of work injury claim is an accident. Accident claims occur when a sudden injury or illness occurs. Examples of accident claims related to NYS Workers’ Compensation include, but are certainly not limited to, slipping and falling while working or experiencing an orthopedic injury from moving equipment or helping patients.

Occupational diseases are the second type of possible claim for NYS Workers’ Compensation. Occupational diseases refers to when an employee develops a disease or long term illness as a result of their work duties. Examples of occupational diseases include developing a chronic illness due to exposure to asbestos while working, or developing carpal tunal from performing work duties from repetitive motions, such as typing.

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For over 30 years, MCV Law’s work injury lawyers have helped guide people through the NY workers’ compensation process.

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What We Do First

When you're out of work, the first thing you need to do is tell your employer. The law says that you have 30 days from your injury or the time you know your sickness was a result of work to report it to your employer. You're also supposed to file a claim within 2 years. If you fail to do this, your claim is likely to fail. You also have to expect that the insurance company or your employer are going to do some investigation and they may controvert or dispute your case. The time frames are a little longer than you may expect. While they are supposed to pay benefits after you've been out of work for a week, it rarely happens.

Insurance Carrier Accepted or Contested?

Has the employer’s insurance carrier accepted your case, or is your case being contested?

Generally speaking, the employer or the employer’s insurance carrier must either accept or deny ("controvert" in workers' compensation language) your case within a specific time frame. This time frame depends on when the injury occurred, when notice was given to the employer and/or when the documents, if any, have been filed with the board. When the Workers’ Compensation Board has received all of the correct documentation, they will index your case. The indexing of your claim starts the clock running. Your case is not indexed simply because you have a Carrier Case Number; rather, you need to obtain a New York State Workers’ Compensation Case Number for your case to be indexed.

Once your case is accepted, it is not guaranteed that the Workers’ Compensation Board will schedule a hearing for you. Instead, the board may attempt to manage or adjudicate your case on papers alone. You may receive Administrative Decisions, Proposed Decisions or other correspondence from the board. These documents are very important because they can affect your future rights and obligations. Without a hearing, you may not have an opportunity to tell your story or have your rights explained by a judge. Many clients come to us when they receive documents from the Workers’ Compensation Board. We take the time to explain exactly what the papers mean and what steps are needed to make sure that your rights are protected.

If your case is controverted, (the word used to tell you that your case is being disputed) a hearing will be held, but not until all the correct documents have been filed. Until the controversy is resolved, the injured worker will not be paid weekly compensation and may have trouble finding medical care. Generally speaking, the Workers’ Compensation Board tries to resolve controverted cases within 90 days of the first hearing. Therefore, it is important to make sure your case is in order before the date of the first hearing.

Statute of Limitations

During the initial review of your case, the workers' compensation attorneys at MCV LAW will determine if you have any statute of limitations problems. Generally speaking, New York Workers’ Compensation Law has a two-tier statute of limitations. The law requires that you give written notice of your injury to your employer within 30 days of the accident that caused your injury or the time you first had knowledge that you have a work related injury or illness AND that you file a claim, (commonly referred to as a C-3) within two years of the injury or date you become disabled.

Even if you think your case is accepted, you need to be aware of the statue of limitations. You need to make sure that your employer and/or its insurance company has the same understanding of your claim as you do.

A word of caution: It is a crime to commit workers’ compensation fraud. Often, fraud will be asserted because of what was not said or included in a document, such as a claim form (C-3). You must be sure to prepare all documents with care. The attorneys at MCV Law help you complete the appropriate forms to make sure that your rights are protected and that you will not be accused of fraud.

Are you being provided the medical care you need?

Section 13 of the New York Workers Compensation Law entitles injured workers to causally related medical treatment. What constitutes causally related medical treatment is commonly disputed by employers and insurance carriers. The board has treatment guidelines for some injuries that are supposed to resolve conflicts and afford speedy treatment. Currently, the treatment guidelines deal with injuries to the shoulder, neck, back and knee.

Medical treatment also includes the medicines that are prescribed by doctors and hospitals, as well as treatments performed by physical therapists, chiropractors and other medical providers. Depending on where you live or your employer, you may have to see a particular set of doctors or have certain diagnostic tests, such as an MRI, performed at a facility chosen by the insurance carrier.

Medical care also includes the cost of your transportation to and from visits with medical providers. The attorneys and staff at MCV Law will explain how you can get reimbursed for these costs.

Are you being paid lost wages?

If so, are these payments accurate?

If your case is accepted and you are out of work, you should be receiving lost wage payments. Generally speaking, you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW) up to certain limits, depending on the date of your accident or disability. Usually you are paid the full two-thirds if you have a temporary total disability. If your disability is less than total, you will be paid a percentage of the total rate.

It is very important to make sure your AWW is correctly set because it controls your wage benefits for the life of the case. If you have more than one job, you may be able to include the other job(s) in the AWW calculation. Your AWW is calculated by looking at your earnings or the earning of a similar worker for one year prior to your accident or date of disability. If you are under 25 years old at the time of injury, you are entitled to have your AWW increased at the time of permanency, this is called a Minor’s Wage Expectancy.

Reduced Earnings?

If you are currently working but earning less than you did prior to your workplace injury as a result of your injury or disease, you can collect up to two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wages (AWW) and your post injury wages. Payments of this type are called reduced earnings. Reduced earnings are a very important concept, especially in cases involving the neck, back and other serious injury cases.

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Labor Market Attachment

Payments typically continue during your period of disability and recovery. However, if you have a partial disability and have not returned to work, you may need to take certain actions to protect your right to continued payments. It is very important to show that you remain attached to the work force. If you fail to do so, the insurance company may argue that you have voluntary removed yourself from the work place and therefore argue that you are not entitled to ongoing lost wage payments. Because of this defense, care should be taken before deciding to resign, retire, or otherwise leave your job(s) as a result of an accident.

If you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), your case may be ripe for a permanency determination. A permanency finding will have different consequences depending on what part of your body was injured, whether you have returned to work with or without reduced earnings, and most importantly, the date of the injury.

Permanency - Schedule Loss of Use

For injuries concerning extremities such as your hand or foot, you may be entitled to a Schedule Loss of Use (SLU). A SLU is expressed by your doctor as a percentage which is then converted into weeks and is multiplied by your Total Rate to determine the value of the loss. Once a value of loss has been determined, adjustments for protracted healing are made and any prior payments you were awarded are deducted. The Workers’ Compensation Law contains a table setting forth the number of weeks each body part is worth. Additionally the board has guidelines that are used by doctors to determine the percentage loss of use.

A payment of an SLU is not a settlement of your case. Even after you are awarded an SLU you are entitled to further medical care and may make an application to increase the SLU if your condition materially changes. However, before you can collect further weekly wages you must use up or exhaust the monies paid by reason of the SLU. While many see this process as fairly straightforward, our workers' compensation attorneys help you determine whether this is the correct course of action in your case and help you understand what exactly is being accomplished. There is often controversy over the percentage of SLU, which can result in litigation.

Settlement

What exactly constitutes a settlement in a workers’ compensation case depends on your point of view and interpretation. Some injured workers consider it a settlement of their case when they are given an SLU or a Classification. Others consider it a victory when they have returned to work, earning what they did at the time of the injury with medical care for the injuries they suffered. Others look for an outright conclusion of their case where they give up future medical care and ongoing rights to collect lost wages in exchange for a sum of money. This type of resolution is called a Section 32 settlement.

The determination as to when and how to seek permanency and/or settle is usually one of the most important issues in an injured worker’s case. The attorneys at MCV Law work with each client to formulate a strategy that is most likely to satisfy their goal, within the bounds of the law. The attorneys and staff at Meggesto, Crossett & Valerino, LLP take pride in their ability to see the big picture and use it to our client's advantage to obtain the best result on an individual basis.

Beyond Workers

Sometimes, workers’ compensation is not the only source of benefits for injured workers. If your accident was the result of the actions or negligence of someone not in the same employment, such as a building owner, subcontractor, product manufacturer or the driver of a vehicle, you may be able to bring a separate action to recover damages. The attorneys at MCV Law will look at the facts of your case to determine whether or not you may have an additional action, and if so, with your permission, pursue those other parties for a recovery in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits.

The attorneys will also use their skill and knowledge to recommend and pursue other statutory benefits such as Social Security Disability.

Schedule a Free Consultation
For over 30 years, MCV Law’s work injury lawyers have helped guide people through the NY workers’ compensation process.

Contact Us Today!