If you’ve been hurt while at work, you’re probably in the process of or looking into filing for workers’ compensation benefits. Though workers’ compensation can be complicated, the benefits earned help make up for lost wages and medical expenses related to your injury. All claims must go through the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. Understanding the board, including how it operates, can give you some context about what to expect as you progress through the claims process.
What Is the Workers’ Compensation Board?
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board is an administrative agency tasked with administering benefits for workers’ compensation, disability benefits, and Paid Family Leave. According to its mission statement, the board, “protects the rights of employees and employers by ensuring the proper delivery of benefits and by promoting compliance with the law.” There are nine board district offices across New York, including one in Buffalo.
What Does the Board Do?
The board is responsible for determining whether employers are properly insured and whether insurance carriers comply with the law in administering claims. They also have the authority to issue penalties against insurance companies if they are not in compliance. As an injured worker, you will interact with the board by filing your claim, receiving copies of documentation filed by the insurance company on your claim, and most likely by having a hearing with a worker’s compensation law judge.
If an injured worker’s case is approved, the board enforces weekly payments and relevant medical care costs by the employer’s insurance carrier. These situations require little if any board intervention, and are the ideal outcome. However, conflicts can cause workers’ compensation benefits to be delayed or denied. Disputes about whether the injury is work-related, the severity of the disability, the kind of treatments necessary, or the monetary amount awarded may arise. In these cases, the board will intervene and issue a resolution.
Receive Counsel From a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Though you’re not required to have a workers’ compensation lawyer, it’s typically advised to have legal representation, especially if your claim is disputed or denied. Workers’ compensation lawyers understand how the system works and can help you fight for the maximum benefits you’re entitled to. From filing your claim and coordinating vital communications with employers, insurance carriers, and doctors to representing you in general hearings, appeals, or settlements, workers’ compensation lawyers like Lewis & Lewis can assist you through every step of the process. We’re happy to meet with you to discuss your claim.