Medical attention is imperative when you suffer a workplace injury or your job duties lead to illness. But for many workers, figuring out how to pay for doctor visits can seem like a larger concern.
Since workers’ compensation can cover the expenses associated with an on-the-job injury, you might think you should start getting benefits immediately after an incident. However, there are many steps involved in processing your claim – all of which, unfortunately, take some time.
The workers’ compensation claims process
Depending on the seriousness of an injury, you might choose between informing your employer of an accident or seeking medical care. Whether you go to the nearest emergency department by ambulance or drive yourself to urgent care after you complete your shift, you must file a written report of injury with your employer.
The sooner you do this, the better, though you have up to 30 days to start your claim. Once your employer receives proper notification, they will file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board.
From there, the allowed timeframe goes as follows:
- 48 hours from the incident – Your physician will send his or her preliminary report to you, your employer, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company the appropriate District Office and your representing attorney.
- 10 days from notification – Your employer must report your injury to the Board and their insurance carrier.
- 14 days from receipt of your employer’s report – Your employer’s workers’ compensation benefits provider will issue a written statement of your legal rights, in addition to contact information for any in-network diagnostic testing.
- 18 days from your employer’s report – Ideally, this is when your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will begin issuing benefits, in cases where your time lost from work is more than seven days.
Despite this specified timeline, there’s no guarantee your initial application for benefits will be approved. Likewise, there’s no way to predict how long it will take to resolve a disputed claim.
There is, unfortunately, a possibility that you could essentially waive your rights if you don’t file your appropriate documents as required by New York’s workers’ compensation laws. Instead of leaving your rights to chance, you may be wise to draw from legal experience right from the start.