April 2012 Archives

April 30, 2012

I Missed My New York State Workers' Compensation Board Hearing, What Happens Next?

If you have missed your New York State Workers' Compensation Board hearing, there is a good chance that you would be able to have it rescheduled. In most instances, the presiding Law Judge will close your file for what is known as "failure to prosecute." However, your claim can be easily re-opened if proper RFA-1 form is filed with supporting evidence or documentation.

If you have missed numerous hearings, it may be more difficult to have your claim re-opened.

If you have a Workers' Compensation hearing that has been scheduled and you are not exactly sure why, you should find out. You may be entitled to benefits that you are unaware of.

April 27, 2012

How Long Will My Workers' Compensation Hearing Take?

New York State Workers' Compensation hearings generally do not take a long time. Unless a hearing is scheduled for extensive testimony or complicated issues, a hearing will generally take between five and twenty minutes.

Unfortunately, hearings are rarely called at the scheduled time. It is not uncommon for claimant's to wait for over an hour and sometimes longer for their case to be called.

If you have an upcoming Workers' Compensation hearing and do not understands what is happening with your case, we would be happy to review it with you.

April 26, 2012

What Will Happen At My Workers' Compensation Hearing?

The list of possible legal issues that may be addressed at a New York State Workers' Compensation hearing are far too long to list here. However, your notice of hearing should provide an idea as to why the hearing has been scheduled.

In order to accurately determine what can be expected at your hearing, a case evaluation should be performed. Some hearings involve sworn testimony of the claimant, lay witnesses, or even doctors. Often times, the claimant is expected to provide evidence in support of his or her claim at the time of the hearing.

If your case has been scheduled for a hearing and you do not know what to expect or how to prepare, we may be able to help. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

April 25, 2012

New York's Medical Treatment Guidelines: A Failed Experiment

According to the New York Workers' Compensation Alliance Law Blog, it is estimated that the implications of the Workers' Compensation Board Medical Treatment Guidelines, that have been intacked for over a year, costs employer's $60 million per year. The blog goes on to state that payment for the requested medical procedure, which are adjudicated under the Treatment Guidelines, would be cheaper than the costs of implementing the Guidelines and would result in a high percentage of denials for treatment.

From a practitioner's standpoint, the entire process is absurd. It emphasizes form over substance and is clearly designed with the main purpose being to save employers money. The end result is a wholesale denial of necessary medical care for the injured worker.

Given the current financial outlook in New York State, it's no wonder that the Legislature has chosen to side for cutting costs to employers at the expense of severely diminishing the injured workers' right to secure necessary medical treatment. Hopefully, as time goes on, the hidden agenda will be exposed and the Guidelines repealed. For the time being, injured workers can expect to continue to receive denials from the Workers' Compensation Board for medical care that their own doctors feels is necessary and appropriate.

April 24, 2012

What Is A Functional Capacity Evaluation?

A functional capacity evaluation is a physical assessment of one's abilities to perform certain specific tasks.

A functional capacity evaluation, also known as an FCE, is designed to give doctors, lawyers, and Judges a quantitative measurement of a person's ability to do physical activities. In turn, this information has a direct a bearing on one's ability to return to work within limitations or restrictions.

FCEs are often ordered when a doctor feels that a patient may be ready to return to some sort of employment following an injury. They are utilized in Workers' Compensation cases, personal injury lawsuits, and can also be helpful in Social Security Disability claims.

FCEs are usually completed by occupational therapists. Insurance companies or governmental agencies may be responsible for payment to secure the FCE.

April 22, 2012

Understand Your Legal Rights And Responsibilities

After a car accident you have many things to take care of; car repairs, no-fault application, not to mention securing needed medical treatment and recovering from your injury. Are you entitled to disability benefits or even Workers' Compensation?

There comes a point in time when the seriously injured may realize that they need help with their case.

Many attorneys believe that you should call them as soon as you are involved in an accident. In some cases, this is a good idea. However, most people are not ready to speak with an attorney right away.

If you have been injured in a car accident and believe that it is time for you to learn about your rights and responsibilities, we would be happy to speak with you. You may not be ready to hire an attorney and we may not be ready to take your case, however, there is no substitute for protecting your legal rights.

April 20, 2012

Don't Be Disrespected By The Insurance Company

Having practiced injury law for many years, I have heard numerous stories of insurance adjuster's rude and inappropriate behavior towards claimants. Usually this occurs in Workers' Compensation cases.

As an injured worker, you are entitled to be treated with some respect by the insurance adjuster. However, many adjusters stereotype all injured workers as second-class citizens looking for benefits that they are not entitled to. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Always remember that insurance adjusters are in the business of paying out as little as possible. Therefore, do not blindly accept what the insurance carrier's agent is telling you.

If you believe that you are not being treated with the respect and dignity that you deserve and wonder if you are receiving all of the benefits that you are entitled to from your Workers' Compensation's claim, contact our office for a free case evaluation.

April 19, 2012

New York State Workers' Compensation: Don't Forget Or You May Be Labeled A Criminal

During the course of a New York State Workers' Compensation claim, claimants are often asked to complete questionnaire forms and give sworn testimony at hearings. Answering simple questions seems harmless, but in fact, it's not.

The Workers' Compensation insurance company and Law Judge can, and have, turned a less than perfect memory into a criminal case against innocent claimants.

In my practice, a person that I consider extremely honest and forthright has lost all claims to indemnity benefits because the Law Judge ruled that her sworn testimony was inaccurate. The issue pertained to whether or not this person had a prior injury to a certain body part. The claimant did not recall having prior treatment but the insurance carrier had secured medical records indicating that there was minor treatment years ago.

Because the claimant denied prior treatment the Law Judge ruled that her statement was purposely false and ruled that she had violated the fraud portion of the New York State Workers' Compensation Law. The Judge further ruled that this disqualified my client from all future lost wage benefits. While an appeal is pending, this result is horrific.

None of us can remember each and every doctor visit we have attended. The moral of the story is to always couch your answers if you are not 100% sure, so that they cannot be used against you. If someone is not sure of an answer, he or she should respond "I can not recall or I am not sure."

Completing forms and giving testimony in a New York State Workers' Compensation case can be trickier than you think. If you have questions about your claim, please feel free to contact our office.