New York Workers' Compensation is an intricate area of law that is often subject to a number of misconceptions. This site is intended to help readers seeking clarification on the topic of NY Workers' Comp. Whether you are an injured worker lost amidst the complexities of Workers' Comp, a doctor who is not sure how to properly handle a Workers' Comp patient's file, or simply a curious New Yorker who worries about what would happen if you were ever injured on the job, I hope that the content of this site will deliver the answers you seek, even to questions you didn't know to ask.

It is my pleasure to welcome you into the world of New York Workers' Compensation. I hope you enjoy your visit, spread the word, and come back soon.

Best regards,

Camila P. Medici, Esq.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What Makes a Claim Successful?

Your attorneys work very hard to keep your claim going forward.  The difference between having a successful claim and a not-so-successful claim is the cooperation and partnership existing between your attorney and you.  There are certain things that our firm requires of our clients that allow us to make the best possible claim, and if you were our client, this is the advice we would have for you:
  1. Be patient!  Like everything else in organized society, every step of the Workers’ Compensation claim takes time.  From receiving the Notice of Indexing and WCB# back from the Board, to getting the Insurance Carrier to respond to a request, to getting a Decision on a disputed issue, to reaching a degree of maximum medical improvement and every other step of the process.  You must understand and believe that we are doing everything we can in order to expedite the process for you and that without our help it would go even slower.   Don’t sacrifice the potentially great outcome of your case by becoming frustrated and rushed.  There will come a time when it will all be worth it. 
  2. If you are receiving wage benefits, make sure you go to your doctor every 45 days.
  3. Make sure you tell your doctor the exact history of the accident, especially that it is an accident that happened at work, and double check that in his/her report he/she not only states the exact percentage of disability and ability to return to work but also how they relate to the mechanism of the work injury. 
  4. Make sure you can provide documentation that proves every statement you make related to your claim.  You should be able to prove how much you were making, where you were working, and what your doctor’s opinion is. 
  5. If the Insurance Carrier schedules a visit with an Independent Medical Examiner (IME), make sure you go to that appointment, and, if you choose to, videotape it. 
  6. If your doctor has told you or has issued a report saying you are not totally disabled, or the Law Judge has issued a Decision that you are only partially disabled, make sure you document a work search for a job within your restrictions and that you make an attempt at vocational rehabilitation. 
  7. Be truthful and up-front with us!  Do not hide the fact that you had a prior accident with the same or similar injuries, or any other accident even if not work-related and even if not resulting in any injuries.  Always inform us if you have returned to work in any capacity, whether with the same employer, new employer, full time, part time, volunteer, for barter or exchange, as a favor to a friend, etc.  ANYTHING that could be perceived as work or as activities that you reportedly cannot perform should be reported to us if you perform such activities.  Remember, the Insurance Carrier may have you under surveillance at any time, and if you say you are totally disabled from work but then perform activities that go against that reality, you could lose your entitlement to benefits. 
  8. Do not move or change your phone number without notifying us.  If you will be out of reach for a prolonged period of time, please let us know. 
  9. Never talk to anyone about your claim except to your attorney.  If the Insurance Carrier contacts you directly your only response should be that you are being represented by an attorney and they should contact us.  You should also forward us any documentation that they send you.
  10. Remember that despite our best efforts, you are the one in the best position to obtain copies of your medical records and doctor reports.  So you should make sure we have all the documentation we need.  That includes diagnostic test results, prescription medication you are taking, and any other medically relevant document or information. 
  11. Understand the system!  We can assure you that our reputation has been built on providing a quality work product, but we are legally bound by the system.  It is the legislature – not us – who makes the laws, and only they can change it.  There will be times when we tell you about rights of the insurance company that you may think are unfair, or that we cannot right a wrong or get a quicker result than the law allows.  We cannot make the system move faster than it is legally allowed, but we promise that we will do everything we can to use the quickest legal avenue to avoid unnecessary delays. 
  12. If you don’t understand something or have a question, ASK!  We are here to help you.  We want to make this difficult situation easier.  You can call us with the same question many times if you don’t understand something, but you should also know that you can rely on anyone from our team for help.  If your attorney is not available it probably is because he/she is at a hearing representing other clients.  You should feel comfortable talking to the paralegals and legal support teach about your case if you need immediate assistance.  The fact that your attorney is unavailable at the time you place your call does not mean he/she is ignoring you.   
 Let us know if you are unhappy!  Sometimes dissatisfaction happens because of a simple and correctable misunderstanding.  We will work to resolve any issues you have with your case.

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