Under New York’s workers compensation laws, there are certain deadlines that must be met in order for an injured worker or the family of a worker who died as a result of their injuries to claim benefits. These deadlines are called “statutes of limitations” and anytime these deadlines are missed, they put your potential claim at risk.
- Always report your on-the-job injuries to your immediate supervisory as soon as possible after your accident.
- Workers must report their injuries within 30 days of the accident, according to New York law.
- Workers have up to two years to file a claim if an injury has caused other damage.
- New York law states that workers have up to two years to file a claim if they are suffering from a work-related illness or injury.
- For occupational hearing loss, workers have up to three months to report the injury and 90 days to file a workers’ compensation claim.
- Contact an attorney for specific NYS workers’ compensation statute of limitations.
What is the Time Frame for Reporting Injuries in New York?
When you are injured on the job, the best policy is to report the accident to your immediate superior as soon as possible after the accident. New York law requires workers to report injuries within 30 days of the occurrence. It is important to note that under the law, workers have up to two years to file a claim if an injury has caused other damage. For example, if you slip and fall on the floor because of a wet surface, you may report the accident but may return immediately to work. If you subsequently develop back pain or another pain as a result of the injury, then filing a workers compensation claim is possible.
Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
In the event you are suffering an injury or illness that is work-related such as repetitive stress injuries, illness caused by exposure to harmful chemicals or other conditions that are not easily diagnosed, you have up to two years from the date “you should have known”.
Specifically the rules offered by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board state:
- Two years from the date of the disabled worker’s disability; or
- Two years from the time the disabled worker knew or should have known that the disease was due to the nature of employment.
Best Policy to Report Work Injuries in New York
The best policy to follow is simple: Anytime you are injured on the job in New York, regardless of how minor the injury may seem to be, you should report it immediately. This not only protects your employer, but it also protects your rights under New York’s workers compensation laws.
Additionally, if you are diagnosed with any condition that could be the result of a work-related issue this should be reported immediately, even if you do not file a workers compensation claim.
Special Rules for Hearing Loss in New York
One of the notable exceptions to New York’s time limits applies to workers who suffer job-related hearing loss. Hearing loss is not always noticeable until after you have been removed from the situation causing the damage. Occupational hearing loss may be reported up to three months after the worker is away from the noise or three months after leaving the company where the hearing loss occurred. In these cases, if a worker does not discover the hearing loss right away, they have up to 90 day of learning about work-related hearing loss to file a workers compensation claim, even if it extends past the typical two-year limit.
Job-Related Deaths in New York
Unlike a typical death-related personal injury lawsuit, in most cases, family members must follow the time limits set by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. This means if an injury resulted in the worker’s death, the family must file a claim within two years. If a worker died because of a job-related illness, in most cases, it is important to contact a worker’s compensation attorney immediately for assistance after it is reported to the worker’s employer. Keep in mind, a spouse or child of a worker killed on the job may be able to collect death benefits.
Why Reporting in a Timely Manner Is Important in New York
When you are injured on the job, even what may seem like a minor injury at the time, you are jeopardizing your rights to collect benefits for the injury. This means that should you later have symptoms that develop, your failure to report an injury could mean your claim for benefits is denied, even if the problem began at work.
New York’s workers’ compensation laws are extremely complicated and often, workers are uncertain what their rights and responsibilities are under the law. Any worker who has suffered any work-related injury or believes they have an illness that may be job-related should report their condition to their employer immediately. Once you have done this, it is typically a good idea to contact a New York workers’ compensation attorney, particularly if your initial claim is denied by the insurance company.
While you have the obligation to meet certain requirements for reporting your illness or injury, your employer also has reporting responsibilities to their insurer and to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. Keep in mind, even if you are involved in a seemingly minor incident such as slipping, banging your head or banging your knees, report it to your employer immediately. Protect your rights under the law.
Don’t Wait Until It Is Too Late
It is human nature to minimize the significance of injuries for the extent of a legal issue or problem that you may have. In the New York State Workers’ Compensation system, the can be a mistake that may jeopardize or destroy your claim.
A New York Times article, which as of this writing, is still not posted on their website, finds that the New York State Workers’ Compensation system is arguably the “most adversarial of any state in the nation.” The New York Times characterizes the system as “befuddling” and references “nightmarish” delays.
There is much truth to that portion of the article. However, realizing the importance of your claim and retaining qualified counsel to represent your interests immediately can make a huge difference in the final resolution of your case.
On the other hand, failing to file your claim immediately or failing to understand your legal rights and responsibilities can result in dismissal of your claim altogether or reduction and/or suspension of your lost wage benefits and medical treatment.
Filing a New York Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides compensation to employees who experience on-the-job injuries. If you get injured while on the job, you should be sure to seek medical attention immediately after the injury occurs. At that time, you should tell your doctor that your injury is work-related and provide the name of your employer. (You should not use your health insurance or own funds to pay for the medical care.) Your doctor will then file reports with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board and with your employer or its insurance carrier. If your case is disputed, the Board will need the medical report regarding your injury to evaluate your claim.
You should notify your employer in writing about the injury within 30 days of its occurrence. After your employer has been notified of your injury, it must notify the Workers’ Compensation Board by filing a C-2 form. You will also need to file an Employee Claim (C-3) form, which is a report of your injury, as soon as possible. This will ensure that your benefits are not delayed. (Your claim must be filed within two years of the injury. If you fail to file within the two years after the injury occurs, your claim may be denied.)
You can file your C-3 form in several different ways:
- Go online and click on the relevant link to complete the web version of the form.
- Call the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board at 1-866-396-8314. A representative will assist you in completing the form.
- Fill out a paper C-3 form and mail it in. You can obtain a hard copy form at any Customer Service Center or District Office (find an office near you by clicking here); by printing a form from the official Workers’ Compensation Board website (www.wcb.ny.gov); or by calling (877) 632-4996 and requesting that a form be mailed to you.
If your claim is approved, your employer or its insurance carrier will notify you. At that time, your medical treatment is paid for and lost-wage benefits begin. On the other hand, if your case is disputed, the Workers’Compensation Board will let you know the next steps in resolving the case.
Contact Paul Giannetti for a Free Consultation Today
If you or a loved one has been injured at work in the Albany area or in upstate New York, call 518-243-8011 or contact us for a free consultation. You pay legal fees only if you receive compensation for your injuries.
Updated July 2019