Simply put, the MAP program is a controversial plan devised by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to circumvent the long established Workers’ Compensation hearing process. MAP will allow the Workers’ Compensation Board employees to file legal documents, by mail, which can and will have dire consequences on your claim. This paper filing and notification process will, in many instances, make it much more difficult if not impossible for you to have a hearing on certain issues on your case. This means that you will receive no explanation from a Law Judge and have no opportunity to be heard. Instead you will get legal documents in the mail and be expected to understand them and/or respond to them. From experience, such paperwork filed by the Workers’ Compensation Board is difficult for many attorneys, who do not practice in the area of Workers’ Compensation, to comprehend.
As such most, if not all, injured workers who receive these types of decisions or resolutions by mail will have absolutely no idea what they mean and how they affect the worker’s future rights to medical treatment and/or lost wage benefits.
Why would the Workers’ Compensation Board want to restrict the injured workers rights so radically? It is hard to imagine why such a program would be implemented. My first thought is that the people involved with MAP are so far removed from the original purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Law that they fail to see the perils of denying the injured worker and insurance carriers the opportunity to be heard in Court. MAP proponents, which to my knowledge, can only be found within the walls of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, fail to acknowledge and comprehend that when the Workers’ Compensation system was implemented in the early 1900s each and every employee of this State was stripped of his or her right to sue their employers for negligence with regard to an injury occurring at work. The compensation system took away the injured worker’s right to sue for pain and suffering associated with work related injuries.
Since the Workers’ Compensation system was originally implemented, it has slowly but surely stripped away the injured workers rights. The Workers’ Compensation “Reform” Act of 2007 represented a devastating blow to permanent partially disabled claimants as it severely limited the number of weeks they could collect compensation regardless of how long their disability remains. This was not highly publicized when the legislation passed. Instead, what was publicized was the fact that the maximum weekly compensation rates were being increased incrementally.
The reality is that the MAP program is the next step in the fleecing of the injured worker by New York State.
At the very least, the injured worker should have full access to due process via Administrative hearings. The hearing process is all that is left for the injured worker to attempt to secure what little is left of their rights as unfortunate people who happen to have been injured at work.