Working as a correctional officer comes with additional rules and regulations, especially if you are injured on the job. Whether an inmate or an accident caused the injury, an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation can help you submit your claim.
If you are injured while working, here are several vital steps to follow while preparing your workers’ compensation claim.
Report the Incident
Immediately after the incident, submit a detailed report to your employer. Be sure to include every site of injury, even if it seems insignificant. Some injuries at first seem unimportant but later can become dangerous. Shoulder and knee injuries especially can become worse in the following days.
If an additional injury site is added later, even within 3-10 days, the State of New York could hold that against you and disallow that injury site.
When writing your report be specific, indicate if it was due to the use of force, inmate-related, or accident-related. In the future, this information can impact your right to a disability retirement later. This is why it so important to be as detailed as possible in your report.
Use an Approved Doctor
Your doctor must be on the NY Workers’ Compensation Board approved list and be able to work with the NYC Law Department. If you use a doctor not authorized by the WCB, your claim may not be approved.
Always be upfront about past injuries with your doctor. Failure to disclose previous injuries can be considered fraudulent. The WCB has strict guidelines for doctors to determine Schedule Loss of Use results, and you must provide a thorough medical history.
Keep Detailed Records
Always keep detailed personal records. After every medical appointment, note the date, time, what you discussed, and any suspected or confirmed diagnosis. Injured workers do not pay any out of pocket medical expenses. If a doctor tries to bill for treatment because of a work-related injury you do not pay it.
Be Honest with your Lawyer
As with your doctor, it’s essential to be fully open with your lawyer. Disclosure will not negatively impact your claim, but non-disclosure will. Tell your lawyer about any previous injuries, workers’ compensation claims (whether or not they were successful), and the exact circumstances surrounding your injury. It must be disclosed at the outset of your claim with the state.
Your lawyer is there to help you but needs all the information. By being open and truthful, you protect your rights and enable your lawyer to build the most robust case possible.
Schedule Loss of Use
Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) is a term used by the NY Workers’ Compensation Board to designate injuries to an upper or lower extremity, eyesight, or hearing that have caused a permanent partial disability, which resulted in a permanent partial loss of wage-earning capacity.
An SLU means you can receive compensation for a set number of weeks, depending on your injury severity. Even if there is no Lost Time, you may still eligible for an SLU. Consult with a lawyer to ensure you protect your rights and receive full compensation for your injury.
If your injury is severe but affects another part of your body, including your spine, pelvis, lungs, heart, or brain, and are unable to work you might be eligible for a Non-Schedule. After you receive an official diagnosis, you can determine which type of compensation you qualify for.
WCB Terms and Acronyms
The Workers’ Compensation claim system is full of acronyms and unfamiliar terminology. If you’re filling out a form and come across a new term, the WCB website has a complete glossary. The glossary can also help you decipher your doctor’s report, what your diagnosis means, and what types of compensation your diagnosis makes you eligible for.
Coronavirus and Workers’ Compensation
Since March, New York has been dealing with the Coronavirus Pandemic and has created new rules and regulations to address related workers’ compensation benefits. If you contract Coronavirus through your work, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Because this is a new and developing situation, it’s essential to work with an attorney familiar with NY Workers’ Law. As with injuries received from inmates or an accident, the novel Coronavirus can result in short and long-term health problems that could affect your ability to work.
Schedule your Free Consultation
It can be overwhelming to navigate the NY Workers’ Compensation system on your own, especially if you’re in pain. Even a small mistake on a form could set back your application.
When pursuing a complicated workers’ compensation claim, it’s vital to have an experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive lawyer on your side. O’Connor Law PLLC has a team of experienced attorneys who specialize in NY Workers’ Compensation. 914-595-4502
From your first free consultation, O'Connor Law PLLC is invested in your case and will work diligently to ensure you receive compensation.