Getting hurt on the job is stressful, both physically and financially. While you might question your job security moving forward, you have to figure out how to access the resources necessary for recovery.
Like many employees, you may not understand the rights they have after a workplace injury. However, debunking the myths about workers’ compensation can better position you to protect your interests.
Fiction: If you caused the accident, you cannot receive benefits.
Fact: The amount of workers’ compensation benefits do not stem from a determination of fault. Likewise, a mistake on your part would not necessarily be a determining factor in your claim.
However, select actions might lead to a denial by the Workers’ Compensation Board. For example, the presence of drugs or alcohol in your system at the time of an accident could affect eligibility.
Fiction: Your employer can fire you because you got hurt on the job.
Fact: New York is an at-will employment state. Therefore, an employer typically does not need a reason to let go of an employee.
Depending on the circumstances, you could lose your job after suffering an injury. However, some situations might provide good reason for a court to determine retaliation in a company’s decision to release you after filing a workers’ compensation claim. Likewise, your employer cannot discriminate against you for requesting reasonable accommodations needed to perform your duties if an on-the-job injury causes a disability.
Fiction: Only employees of large corporations qualify for benefits.
Fact: In general, for-profit organizations must provide workers’ compensation benefits for both full-time and part-time employees, in addition to volunteers and family members working for the company. Live-in domestic workers, or those working a minimum of 40 hours per week, also qualify.
Most people who work for a nonprofit organization can receive compensation for a workplace illness or injury. Most corporate officers are covered, although they have the option to exclude themselves.
Experienced attorneys can set the record straight
Workers commonly misunderstand the benefits available after a workplace illness or injury. However, getting accurate information is vital for avoiding costly mistakes that could hinder your approach to recovery.