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Staten Island Workers' Comp and SSDI Law Blog

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Last week on the blog we talked about the Section 32 waiver agreement. This lump sum payout may be the perfect resolution to some New Yorkers' workers' compensation claims, but for others, it may not be the right move to ensure that they have the resources they need to make ends meet and obtain adequate medical treatment while they focus on recovering and getting back to work. The truth of the matter is that you need to choose a route that is right for you. Of course, the first step in doing that is having all the information you need to make the decisions that support your best interests.

At our law firm, we strive make sure our clients are making fully informed decisions. We educate them as to the law and how it applies to their unique set of circumstances, but we also inform our clients about their likelihood of succeeding on a claim given the evidence in hand. This way, we can work together to identify a legal strategy that seeks to strengthen a case and to reach a favorable resolution.

What is a Section 32 waiver agreement?

It can be difficult for New Yorkers to get by after being injured in a workplace accident. Of course, they oftentimes have physical pain and suffering that can be difficult to cope with, but they usually face financial challenges, too. Those who choose to seek workers' compensation benefits and are successful in doing so may be able to recover compensation, though, which may help offset medical expenses and lost wages.

When workers' compensation benefits are awarded, they are paid out on a periodic basis. For many injured individuals, this works perfectly because the payments fall into a similar pattern, if not the same, as their pay period prior to their injury. This can make budgeting easier.

Preparing a SSD claim for reconsideration

A significant number of Social Security disability claims are denied when first considered. There are a wide variety of reasons why a claim may be denied, including that the disability isn't considered severe enough, the medical evidence presented was deemed insufficient, the injury or illness in question did not seem to limit the claimant's ability to perform the same or similar work, and the claimant failed to adhere to medical treatment aimed at relieving the medical condition. A claim denial, though, for any reason can throw an individual into treacherous financial territory.

The good news is that a denied claim can be appealed. The first step in the appellate process is known as reconsideration. When requesting reconsideration, a claimant should include any new or newly obtained evidence that directly rebuts the reason for the initial denial. This may include additional medical records, but it is important to note that a mere letter from one's doctor isn't enough. Instead, the records submitted should show scientific facts to support the claim, including diagnoses, laboratory findings, medical treatment provided, and the patient's response to said treatment.

The mayor orders more training due to construction accidents

The construction industry is booming in New York City, but a surge in injuries and fatalities has accompanied the increase in projects.

Mayor DeBlasio has approved more training hours for hardhat workers, which is one of several initiatives designed to make construction work safer.

Spinal cord injury may qualify you for SSD benefits

Many Americans, including some of those right here in New York, suffer serious injuries in car accidents, workplace mishaps, slip-and-fall incidences, and in many other ways. While many of these victims are able to reclaim their health and return to their normal lives, others are left with debilitating injuries that upend their day-to-day lives. Oftentimes these injuries interfere with an individual's ability to work. When this is the case, an individual can face significant financial hardship and destitution, which is why they need to consider seeking out the Social Security disability benefits to which they may be entitled.

One type of serious injury that may qualify an individual for SSD benefits are those related to the spinal cord. According to the Social Security Administration's guidelines, an individual who has some sort of spinal cord disorder may be able to qualify for benefits if certain requirements are met. For example, an individual who can show complete paralysis can qualify for SSD benefits, provided that he or she has the proper work history.

What is my role in the SSD claim process?

If you've been injured or developed a medical condition that is severe enough to leave you unable to work, then you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. If obtained, the compensation paid to you through this program can serve as a financial lifesaver. It can assist you in your efforts to obtain and pay for medical care, and it can help offset your lost wages. These benefits aren't automatically provided to those who suffer from a disability, though, which means you need to make active efforts to ensure that you are adequately and aggressively pursuing your SSD claim.

The Social Security Administration requires all disability claimants to provide all evidence related to the medical condition in question. This is an ongoing responsibility, meaning if new evidence is acquired after the claim is submitted, then the SSA must be notified. How do you know if the documentation you have is relevant and adequate? The SSA says that the evidence submitted to it needs to help it assess the type and severity of the medical condition in question, the length of time during which the condition is expected to last, and whether the claimant is able to perform any work-related activities.

How can I prepare for my workers' compensation hearing?

Before filing for workers’ compensation benefits in Staten Island, you probably thought that the hardest thing you would have to deal with is the wait. No one warned you about the possibility of your claim being denied. As you get ready to file an appeal on your workers’ compensation claim, you might find yourself wondering how you can prepare for the hearing. The hearing gives you another chance to present your case and get a more favorable decision. In addition to having everything you need to support your claim, consider the following pointers:

Watch what you wear

Construction worker injured at World Trade Center site

Construction is a year-round industry in New York. Those funding construction projects often want their structures built as quickly and as cheaply as possible. This rush to stay on schedule and on budget can cause workplace errors to occur that leave construction workers susceptible to injuries. Even those workplaces that are deemed safe can see accidents that result in injuries.

One of these workplace accidents recently occurred at the 3 World Trade Center construction site. Initial reports indicated that the worker was harmed when a wall collapsed on him, but later clarification stated that the man was injured as he was taking down a plywood and sheetrock wall. The report further indicated that the man injured his leg, but that these injuries were not life-threatening.

Workers' compensation can provide social work help

It goes without saying that an injury in the workplace can impose physical and financial imitations on an individual. However, few recognize that being injured on the job and all of the ramifications any resulting injuries can have may result in the imposition of emotional harm, too. Injured workers can find themselves overwhelmed with financial issues that have been unexpectedly thrust upon them, which can leave them scrambling to make ends meet. This is true even when workers' compensation benefits are recovered because these benefits usually don't cover the full extent of one's losses.

However, the workers' compensation program does provide another benefit that can prove useful. Those who are successful on a workers' compensation claim and thereby awarded benefits can have a social worker appointed to help them at no cost. These workers can help identify areas where benefit recipients need assistance and step in to further that individual's best interests. Therefore, a social worker can help a benefit recipient negotiate with creditors and landlords when payments are late or incomplete, which could help alleviate some of the financial stressors faced by these individuals.

Burn victims may qualify for SSD benefits

There are some injuries that can be characterized as severe and life altering. A burn injury is one of them. In some cases, a burn could be so severe that it prevents a person from being able to lead a normal life. The recovery process can be extensive, require much time away from work. In these matters, this injury may be considered disabling.

A burn injury can be classified in one of three ways. First-degree burns typically leave the out skin reddened and, although painful, are considered relatively minor. A sunburn typically constitutes a first-degree burn. A second-degree burn affects both the outer layer of skin as well as the skin tissue underneath the outer layer, referred to as the dermis. Blisters often accompany these burns, and the skin may look wet. Depending on the type of second-degree burn, a sufferer may end up with scarring.