Questions to Expect with a Workers’ Compensation Injury

Questions to Expect with a Workers’ Compensation Injury

The first question that is asked by New York State when there is an on-the-job injury is if you meet the qualification of a covered employee. Under the current workers’ compensation law, most employees that work for a for-profit business do meet this qualification.

There are certain workers who are not covered by the law.

• Volunteers who offer their services without compensation to a non-profit organization.
• Ministers, rabbis, priests, sextons, and members of religious orders that are licensed, commissioned, or duly-ordained.
• Members of supervised amateur athletic activities operated on a non-profit basis.
• Certain teachers in or for non-profit firms.
• Individuals who work for a charitable institution to receive aid as compensation.

There is a full list of non-covered employees that is provided by New York State. You will want to review the list to determine your eligibility, which answers this first question. When you visit with an authorized workers’ compensation doctor, there are several additional questions to expect as well.

#1. Where did the injury happen?

Your attending doctor must determine if there is probable cause to believe that the injury suffered occurred because of your regular professional duties at work.

#2. Could the injury have been caused by non-professional influences?

There are some injuries that occur at work, though they may be influenced by other non-professional factors. Certain lifestyle choices, previous injuries, and other mitigating factors may cause some injuries to be assigned a percentage of responsibility from a workers’ compensation standpoint.

#3. Will there be restrictions placed on the patient?

When you visit a workers’ compensation doctor, part of the evaluation process will determine if you can return to your regular job duties. Many injuries may require restrictions that encourage the healing process, which would mean modified or restricted duties while at work. These restrictions are placed in writing, allowing your employer to know if, or when, you can go back to work and what you can do when you’re on-the-clock.

#4. Are follow-up appointments required?

Some work-related injuries can be treated with a single visit. Others may require follow-up visits to ensure a treatment plan is progressing as it should. Some injured workers may need additional services, such as surgery, physical therapy, or medication supervision to achieve the fullest possible recovery.

#5. Is it possible to make a full recovery?

Under current workers’ compensation guidelines, disability classifications diagnosed by an authorized healthcare provider to determine the extent of potential cash benefits. There are four classifications of disability that are possible under the current guidelines offered by the Workers’ Compensation Board.

1. Temporary Total Disability. With this diagnosis, a worker’s capacity to earn a paycheck is lost completely for a temporary time period.
2. Temporary Partial Disability. This diagnosis means that there is a partial loss of a paycheck earning capacity that will eventually go away.
3. Permanent Partial Disability. This diagnosis means that part of a worker’s wage-earning abilities is lost permanently.
4. Permanent Total Disability. This means their ability to earn wages in their profession is completely and permanently lost. Employees can still engage in employment, following specific guidelines.

When a disability is diagnosed, your authorized provider will assign a percentage to the loss of wage earning capacity. This can be anywhere from 15% or less to 95% or greater. The goal is to get every injured worker on a path toward a full recovery. If that is not possible, then the goal of a treatment plan is to achieve the fullest recovery possible.

#6. How long will it take to recover?

Recovery times for an injury are dependent upon the individual. Your authorized workers’ compensation doctor will make an estimate about your recovery time that can be reported to all parties involved. Some workers may experience downtimes of a day or two because of their injury. Others may be out a week or two. Some might find themselves out a month or two.

There are many variables that can influence total recovery time, such as the current health status of an individual, their lifestyle choices, and history of previous injuries. All of these factors will be evaluated by the attending doctor.

Have You Been Injured at Work?

If you experience a work-related injury, then you may have several questions that you want to ask as well. The first step in the process is to treat the injury. Seek out whatever care is necessary. Then notify your supervisor about the injury and how it occurred.

If you are a covered employee as defined by New York State, then you have the option to choose, in most cases, the healthcare provider you want to treat your injury. With 15+ years serving our community, we invite you to experience how being treated locally can help you find your own road toward recovery.

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