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How to File a Workers Comp Claim: Step-by-Step

how to file a workers comp claim

Suffering a work-related injury or illness can be devastating enough on its own. Figuring out the next legal and financial steps compounds frustration. But understanding the proper workflow for accessing your entitled California workers’ compensation benefits need not overwhelm you.

This guide serves to simplify key action items if hurt on the job. Whether navigating reporting procedures or correctly filing your workplace injury claim, we’ll clarify step-by-step. Plus, it sheds light on what happens after submitting your claim regarding medical care, compensation calculations, employer relations, and more, according to the New York Labor Code.

While every workers’ comp situation bears unique details, you need not shoulder recovery alone. Our workers comp lawyers can help determine whether reasonable grounds exist to pursue a remedy. Then, we’ll carefully walk through protocols together toward a resolution. Start here to take informed charge of the path ahead.

Step 1: Notifying Your Employer of the Work Injury

In New York State, there are two different time frames that have to be met. The first time frame is that an injured worker has to provide written notice to their employer that they had an accident on the job. The injured worker can fill out an employer-based incident form, but it does not have to be a formal incident report.

This notification can be as simple as a text to the boss saying, “Today, I hurt my hands because I tripped on the entrance mat while walking from the office to the bathroom.” Giving written notice to the employer within 30 days is extremely important. Failure to provide written notice can prevent an injured worker from receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Step 2: Filing the C3 Form with the Board

The second time frame is that you must notify the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board by completing the C3 form stating there was an injury on the job. Submitting this form has a two-year statute of limitations. If you do not submit the C3 form, it can be fatal to the claim.

The C3 form is tricky. It asks the same questions in different ways, which can be confusing. If you don’t know what the question is really asking, you can answer incorrectly. If you answer incorrectly, then the insurance company might raise the issue of fraud. Because several questions use double negatives, you may have answered incorrectly. Double negative questions are difficult for people to understand, especially if English is not your first language.

There are several questions on the state form that try to disqualify you from receiving benefits. While the questions on the form cannot be changed, if you file the form and then meet with an attorney who catches the mistake, the attorney will quickly submit an amended form showing the incorrect answer was not on purpose. The amendment also shows full disclosure and that the questions are now answered correctly.

Step 3: Compiling Evidence To Prove Your Compensation Claim And Injury

If an accident happened at work, the presumption under Section 21 of the Workers’ Compensation Law is it happened. However, in the state of New York, workers’ compensation has become much more difficult and complicated.

Part of the reason for establishing workers’ compensation benefits was for workers to get immediate medical treatment. Today, lawsuits can take months and even years to immediately provide the funds to pay for the injured person’s care. What you can do is to get and hold onto any photographic or video evidence.

If there are witnesses who can corroborate that the accident happened, make sure you have the person’s contact information. While the pictures, videos, and witness statements may not be used, it’s in your best interest to get them and securely store them.

Evidence Considerations for Undocumented Workers

In the state of New York, there are a lot of undocumented workers. Undocumented workers have a right to workers’ compensation benefits. Often, a worker’s supervisor will tell the worker that because they are not documented or paid in cash, which proves they work at the company, they are not entitled to the benefits. Undocumented workers should keep copies of transportation records.

For example, if the worker is driven to a job site in New York in a van or by people. Take pictures of the van, including the license plate. Get the name and phone number of the employer for that job. Also, the worker should record any money they receive for the day on a small calendar and bring it to court.

The injured worker will be more persuasive if they can say, “Listen, according to my calendar, the accident happened on Monday, October 10. I’ve also noted each location I worked at, how much money I earned each day and the supervisor’s name and telephone number.”

Many undocumented workers use WhatsApp. It only requires the worker to have a phone number. It keeps screenshots of any communications between the supervisor and the worker. WhatsApp works for anyone who receives cash payments, regardless of documentation status.

Common Reasons Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Denied, Disputed, or Delayed

The main reasons for your workers’ compensation claim being denied, disputed, or delayed are:

  • The employer says the employee didn’t work there
  • The employer said the accident didn’t happen
  • The insurance company cannot get in touch with the employer. The employer will not call the insurance company back to find out what happened.

For more information on Workers’ Compensation Issues In New York, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by contacting us today.

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