As a healthcare worker, you're someone others turn to when they need treatment for an injury or illness. Sadly, this puts you in a prime position to suffer your own injuries and illnesses.
On-the-job injuries are far from uncommon among healthcare workers. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), healthcare is one of the most hazardous industries for employees, with more than 250,000 work-related injuries or illnesses reported each year.
If you're a New York healthcare worker who was seriously injured on the job or diagnosed with a devastating occupational disease, you can find yourself out of work for days, weeks, or even longer—while your medical and household bills mount. Workers' compensation benefits can cover your medical treatment expenses and help you make ends meet until you're ready to return to work. Here's what you should know before filing a workers' compensation claim in the Empire State.
Common Workplace Risks for Healthcare Employees
Healthcare workers can face numerous on-the-job risks, including:
- Repetitive and physically demanding activities (such as frequently lifting, repositioning, and transferring patients)
- Combative patients
- Wet or slippery substances on floors
- Unexpected objects in walkways
- Needle sticks
- Allergy-causing substances
- Frequent contact with contagious patients
- Exposure to bodily fluids of ill patients
The use of proper safety equipment and protocols can help ameliorate some of these potential hazards, but workers can face additional and unnecessary risk when safety equipment isn't available or using it isn't standard procedure.
On-the-Job Injuries Among Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers can suffer wide-ranging injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Some of the most common injuries that require healthcare workers to miss work include:
- Muscle strains and sprains
- Back injuries and pain
- Broken bones
- Overexertion injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Sleep deprivation
New York Workers' Compensation Benefits for Healthcare Workers
As an injured healthcare worker in New York, you may be entitled to the following workers' compensation benefits:
- Medical treatment coverage for your work-related injury or illness
- Prescription drug coverage
- Medical equipment, if necessary
- Partial wage replacement payments
You become eligible for indemnity payments if your injury or illness keeps you out of work for seven days or longer. If you're out of work for 14 or more days, you may be able to recover partial wage benefits for the first seven days you were absent.
Potential Challenges and Why You Need an Attorney
Workers' compensation is a no-fault insurance system, but that doesn't mean obtaining the benefits you need and deserve is easy. Your employer's workers' comp insurer may claim that your injury wasn't work-related or that it was due to a preexisting condition. When you're ready to return to work, you may find that your employer doesn't have the light-duty or transitional work needed to accommodate your injury.
Regardless of the challenges in your case, you can benefit from the knowledge and experience of a skilled New York workers' compensation attorney. Here are just a few things a workers' comp lawyer can do for you:
- Review your case
- Help you understand your legal rights and options, including the benefits to which you may be entitled
- Gather strong medical and vocational evidence
- Negotiate and structure settlement agreements
- Represent you at a workers' comp hearing or trial
Discuss Your Workers' Comp Claim With a Dedicated Attorney
At O'Connor Law PLLC, our team of seasoned workers' compensation lawyers in New York helps injured employees recover fair benefits. We're proud to help New York's healthcare heroes obtain the compensation and support they deserve after suffering a serious workplace injury or occupational illness.
Ready to find out how we can help your case? Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary, no-obligation initial consultation.