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Workers’ Compensation Board Initiative Places Injured Workers at a Disadvantage

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has started a program that requires injured workers who have filed a workers’ compensation claim to address their permanent injuries. The injured workers must address the permanent injury within two years of the injury date, even if there is not enough medical evidence to support it.

In order to show that the 2007 reforms are saving money for employers and insurance carriers, the Board is pushing injured workers to “hurry up and get better.” The Board has increased scheduling of hearings to address permanent injuries.

Workers receive fewer benefits

These hearings have a negative impact on the benefits an injured employee can receive. The Board is limiting the number of weeks that a worker can receive benefits. Because of changes to the legislation in 2007, once an injury is found to be permanent, ongoing workers’ compensation benefits are limited.

Injured workers must provide proof of permanent injury

In many cases, an injured worker and his or her attorney are required to provide proof of permanent injury. They must also prove that the worker has lost the ability to earn wages. In addition to limiting the amount of money a worker can receive, once a permanent injury is discovered, the Board can put limits on medical care. This includes limits on how medical providers can obtain authorization for care.

The decisions made by the Board about permanent injury will limit benefits payable for the life of a workers’ compensation claim. Because of this, it is advisable that an injured worker seek the services of a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney. The employee will be required to provide medical and work records and will also be required to testify to provide evidence of work experience and educational abilities. An attorney can assist in this process and fight for an injured worker’s rights at this critical time in the case.