Recently in Personal Injury Category

July 12, 2012

Injuries During Lunch Breaks

Cases involving injuries during lunch breaks or coffee breaks are almost always fact specific. This means that the specific circumstances surrounding a particular injury are what the Law Judge and Workers' Compensation Board will focus on in determining whether such an injury or accident should be covered under the Workers' Compensation Law in New York State.

A distinction is made between inside and outside employees, but there are no clear lines delineating which lunch break cases will be established and which ones disallowed.

Some relevant facts in such cases involve where the employer was at the time of the injury, whether or not he or she was being paid for the lunch or other break and whether or not the employer gained some sort of benefit from the meal break.

There are many cases involving motor vehicle accidents occurring on the way to or from a meal break. Once again compensability will be based on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the particular accident.

This type of claim often requires extensive litigation.

May 7, 2012

The Social Security Presumption Bill

For New York State Workers' Compensation claimants this piece of pending legislation would help those compensation claimants who have already been approved for Social Security Disability benefits.

The pending bill would require the Workers' Compensation Board to find that a worker who has been approved for Social Security Disability benefits is therefore totally disabled under Workers' Compensation Law.

Currently, many if not most, of the Social Security Disability recipients who also get Workers' Compensation are receiving permanent partial disability benefits but not total disability payments.

Adoption of this bill would guarantee a fair result to those compensation claimants whose injuries are severe enough to qualify them for Social Security Disability. It would also serve to drastically reduce the amount of unnecessary litigation before the Workers' Compensation Board to address issues including labor market attachment and loss of wage earning capacity.

May 4, 2012

Special Damages In Your Personal Injury Action

Many people have heard the term "special damages" or "specials" as it pertains to an injury lawsuit.

Special damages are usually medical bills for treatment, lost wages, or out of pocket expenses that can be accurately calculated.

Special damages differ from general damages for that very reason; an exact number can be calculated from the proof to show what you have lost. General damages usual refer to pain and suffering which is an entirely subjective assessment.

If you have been involved with a serious personal injury accident and would like to learn more about your rights, we would be happy to discuss your claim with you.

May 2, 2012

Have Your Received Letters From The New York State Workers' Compensation Board?

If you have correspondence from the New York State Workers' Compensation Board regarding your case it should not be disregarded. The Workers' Compensation Board has made it a policy to handle many matters by mail, without hearings. Do not assume that it is not important because they have not asked you to go to a hearing.

One of the more common letters, which is extremely important, is entitled "Notice Regarding Possible Award For Permanent Injury." These notices often include legal information directing a party to produce evidence within a certain timeframe.

Additionally, failing to respond properly could mean that you have waived your opportunity to make certain claims. The Workers' Compensation Board has also directed the depositions transcripts be produced should cross-examination desired.

If you have received correspondence from the Workers' Compensation Board and do not know what it means to your case, feel free to contact our firm for an explanation or advice.

May 1, 2012

Retiring Because Of A Disability

If you are disabled due to a New York State Workers' Compensation injury and are forced to retire you should be sure to document that reason in your retirement papers to specifically indicate that you are taking your retirement because of the work related injury.

It is even more helpful if you can secure a statement from your physician recommending that you retire because of your injury and resulting restrictions/limitations.

Taking these steps can help avoid future litigation in your claim.

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 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.

June 9, 2011

Are Personal Injury Settlements In New York State Taxable?

In most instances once a case is finally settled, the question regarding whether or not those settlement proceeds are taxable arises.

The only portion of a settlement which is taxable involves remuneration for lost wages. The portion of a settlement pertaining to pain and suffering is non-taxable.

In most instances a general release does not state what amount of a settlement represents lost wages. In that circumstance, it may be possible for the IRS to make a determination as to the amount of taxed owed from the settlement.

June 7, 2011

What Is "Venue" In A Personal Injury Case?

Many people have heard the word "venue" in the context of legal matter but are not exactly sure what it means.

Venue is simply the location where a lawsuit may be brought.

In New York State the Supreme Court has a statewide presence. However, the statewide Supreme Court is divided into counties. Which county is the correct "venue" for a personal injury matter depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the claim. Relevant factors for choice of venue include where an accident or injury occurred or where the parties to the potential lawsuit reside.

May 9, 2011

What Are Punitive Damages?

In the context of a personal injury matter, punitive damages are a monetary award representing punishment. Punitive damages punish a defendant from malicious or wanton behavior. A plaintiff must demonstrate a circumstance of aggravation or outrage in order to prevail on a punitive damage. The purpose of punitive damage is not only to punish the defendant but also to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.

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April 21, 2011

New York State Workers' Compensation Law: Finger Amputations

Workers who have suffered finger amputations during the course of employment are rarely compensated fairly for their loss. This is because a finger amputation, while always resulting in permanency, will usually fall into the schedule loss of use category.

A 100% loss of a finger will range anywhere between 15 and 75 weeks of compensation. Unfortunately, the schedule is grossly unfair. If more than one finger is amputated it is possible for the schedule to be awarded on the entire hand. 100% loss of a hand under the New York State Workers' Compensation Law translates to 244 weeks of compensation. As you can see, the hand has much more "value" than the individual fingers do.

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