Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Staten Island Workers' Comp and SSDI Law Blog

Injured construction worker might need workers' compensation

Construction projects are seemingly everywhere in New York. Between building new housing developments and commercial structures, performing maintenance and repairs and more, there is plenty of work for construction workers. While these workers are generally professional and make sure to adhere to proper safety procedures, the construction industry has many accidents that cause injuries and fatalities.

Dangers to contractors could spark workers' compensation claims

Contractors are a vital part of the New York City workforce. Just like any other worker, they can be injured and lose their lives in a workplace accident. For contractors, understanding when they can get workers' compensation benefits and how to go about it can be confusing. Since a recent study indicates the rising danger to contractors, those who have been injured when working in this capacity and families who have lost a loved one should be cognizant of how to be approved for workers' compensation benefits or death benefits after an accident.

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health says that contract worker deaths are rising in the U.S. At Amazon, there have been six trauma-related deaths in the past six months. All of those killed were working for another company who supplies workers or were contract workers. The accidents happened in areas across the nation and in various capacities.

What is needed for a Social Security Disability application?

For Staten Islanders who are suffering from a condition that prevents them from working, Social Security Disability Income is important to make ends meet and get the medical treatment they need. However, it is wise to remember that the application process requires evidence that the issue is severe enough to warrant SSDI benefits.

Knowing the evidentiary requirements for SSDI is a foundational aspect of a case. The applicant must provide medical evidence to show that the impairment is severe enough to prevent them from working. The SSA will assist the applicant to obtain the medical evidence from medical sources who have conducted an evaluation, an examination and given treatment for the medical issues. Other information, such as evidence from health facilities, medical clinics and hospitals is also beneficial to the case.

What are variances in New York workers' compensation cases?

Because not all injuries incurred at a New York workplace are the same, the way they are treated will be different. With workers' compensation benefits, it is important for the injured worker to understand when a variance from typical treatment will be necessary and how to get approved for it. The law for medical treatment guidelines in workers' compensation cases addresses variances. When there is a dispute over this or any other workers' compensation issue, legal help is critical.

The Medical Treatment Guidelines are used to determine what treatment is necessary. The medical provider treating the injured worker might decide that the patient needs care which varies from what is customary. To receive coverage for this treatment, the patient must request a variance. The carrier, the Special Fund or the Workers' Compensation Board must approve the variance. If treatment has already been provided and it deviated from the guidelines, the variance request will not be considered.

Will workers' compensation pay for my medications?

For New Yorkers who have a medical issue because of their work, whether it is an on-the-job injury or a condition that arose from their employment, there are many concerns that will arise. For those who need medication to treat their condition, there are often questions about how they will be paid for. Many people who are seeking or already receiving workers' compensation benefits do not know that their prescriptions and medications can and should be paid for by the insurer. If there is a refusal to pay or a dispute over which medications and prescriptions are covered, having legal advice is vital.

When medications or prescriptions are purchased, the injured worker should save the receipt and send it, along with a letter from the treating physician, to the insurer. This must say that the person needed to buy the medication or fill the prescription based on the physician's diagnosis and recommendation. According to the law, pharmacies have the authorization to send the bill to the insurer directly. It also states that the insurer must pay for the prescription or it must provide reimbursement to the injured worker. This must be done within 45 days of getting the receipt.

Social Security Disability Income and the five-step evaluation

When a Staten Islander has been injured or become ill and is seeking Social Security Disability Income, it can be a confusing time. The physical and emotional impact of these issues can be stressful and complex. Many do not want to think about the steps they must take to get approved for SSDI. However, knowing the five-step evaluation process the Social Security Administration uses is a foundational aspect of the application process. Throughout a case, it is wise to have legal advice.

The SSA goes step by step when making its decision as to whether the applicant meets the requirements for benefits. If one step is not applicable, the case will be denied. First, the SSA wants to know if the person is working and, if so, how much they earn in a month. If their income is above a set limit, the SSA will generally decide that the person is not disabled and deny the application for SSDI. For those not working or whose earnings are below a certain level, the case will forward, where the severity of the medical issue will be assessed.

Workers' compensation can help injured employees

With the number of construction projects throughout New York, there are always job opportunities for construction workers. Construction work provides good pay and benefits and a sense of accomplishment when a project is completed. Even with these positives, there are certain factors that cannot be ignored. These jobs are undeniably dangerous, and workers can suffer injuries that leave them unable to work. For those who are injured in construction accidents, having legal advice is essential.

A man lost both his legs beneath the knee while installing a gas main beneath a road. The injury occurred when he was hit by a steel plate, fell into a hole 10 feet below ground, and crushed by the plate. The investigation into the accident is continuing.

Workers' Compensation and factors classifying an employee

When workers on Staten Island and throughout New York are injured or become ill on the job, they might think they are eligible for Workers' Compensation benefits. However, some employers will try to avoid providing these benefits by claiming that the person is not an employee. There are certain factors that are used to decide whether a worker is an employee. Those who are embroiled in a disagreement with their employer should understand them and seek legal help to get their benefits.

The right to control means there is a level of control and direction that the employer has over someone who is contracted to do certain tasks. If there is control over how the task is done, this indicates that the person is an employee. If the worker is in control of various factors, such as when and how the work is done, they could be considered an independent contractor. If the work is consistent with the type of work done at the business, then the worker will be viewed as an employee. If it is a different primary role, the person could be viewed as a contractor.

Workers' compensation often needed by construction workers

Any worker in Staten Island and throughout New York City can be injured on the job, but there are certain types of employment that carry greater natural risks of being injured or even killed. Construction is one such industry. Although it is a good job with solid pay and reliable benefits, there is always the danger of accidents. After an accident, workers' compensation is a necessity to help with medical treatment and lost wages. Legal help might be needed to maximize the benefits.

The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics detail the injuries and fatalities for New York City construction workers. There were 761 injuries in 2018. That is a rise from the 671 that happened in 2017 - an increase of 13 percent. This occurred despite a law enacted in Sept. 2017 that requires workers have at least 40 hours of safety training.

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