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Workers Comp Waiting Game: What’s Behind the One-Week Waiting Period?

As an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in New York, I assist countless injured employees and their concerned families struggling to cover bills as medical leaves stretch on.

Making matters worse, the very insurance companies obligated to support recovery through wage and treatment benefits rarely make the process easy or clearly understood upfront.

Over my three decades counseling workers post-accident, few concepts merit more clarification than insurers extending “voluntary payments” after injuries. Before cashing any checks you get from an insurance company, make sure you understand the rules on when you qualify for wage replacement after an injury.

What is the One-Week Waiting Period for Worker’s Comp in NY?

If you get hurt at work, you don’t get paid for the first week you are out. After missing 1 week plus 1 day, the insurance company has to start paying you benefits.

If you are out for 2 weeks plus 1 day, you also get paid for the first week. Sometimes, insurance companies try to get out of following the rules by paying you even if you haven’t seen a judge.

Beware of Voluntary Payments from Insurers

They might pay the minimum or what they want to pay. This is called “voluntary payment.” They do this so you don’t ask a judge to officially decide what you are owed.

If they later send you to their doctor who says you are less disabled, they will immediately lower your benefits, even if a judge hasn’t agreed yet. So be very careful if you get any voluntary payments.

How to Get What You’re Owed

To prevent getting shortchanged, try not to rely solely on any checks sent voluntarily without an official claim approved.

Instead, request a formal decision from a worker’s compensation judge clearly laying out the insurer’s obligation for payment. This eliminates the insurer’s ability to arbitrarily lower your wage replacement outside the formal dispute resolution process.

Got a Check from Workers’ Comp You’re Not Sure About? Talk to Us First.

If you get a check from workers’ comp insurance but never filed a claim, don’t cash it yet. The insurer might be trying to pay you off cheaply without approving ongoing benefits. These “voluntary payments” help companies more than injured workers.

Before you sign any forms or deposit mystery checks: contact us today. We want to map out smart next steps for your situation. Our goal is to align your medical needs, income, and recovery. We’ll help avoid financial shocks down the road.

Don’t go it alone against “voluntary” offers not made in your best interest. Get trustworthy advice first from our dedicated worker’s comp attorneys.

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