In 2018, 2.8 million nonfatal workplace illnesses and injuries were reported. Have you been injured or made sick on the job? If so, it’s important that you understand your rights and options.
It’s equally critical that you know where to turn for a medical evaluation and treatment. Medical assessment and care are part of a more extensive process to ensure you receive the support and help you need.
That said, be prepared to fill out plenty of paperwork for documentation purposes. You’ll also need to go through a lengthy process involving physicians and lawyers.
With that in mind, let’s dive into where to find a workers’ compensation doctor in Brooklyn and what they can do to put you on the road to recovery and just compensation.
New York Boroughs: Brooklyn
One of five boroughs in New York City, Brooklyn, is among the most populous. It’s the second-most-populous county in the US after Manhattan. According to the 2010 census, more than 2.5 million residents call Brooklyn home.
Although Brooklyn ranks as the third-smallest county in New York by land area, if you listed the borough as an independent city, it would rank third-most populous in America after Los Angeles and Chicago.
Brooklyn shares a border with the borough of Queens, located at the western end of Long Island, and several bridges connect it to Manhattan across the East River.
A Growing Economy & Jobs
As for NYC, its economy has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past few years. From 2009 to 2018, it enjoyed its most significant period of job expansion since World War II, adding 820,400 jobs.
This growth continues with approximately 91,200 jobs added to the city’s economy each year. Many of these jobs are in the leisure and hospitality, business services, tech, and health care industries.
In a historic shift, the city has become less reliant on the securities industry to power the economy. While the economy remains strong and unemployment rates low, work-related injuries persist.
Work-Related Injury Data For Brooklyn
Did you know that nearly all employers in New York are required to have workers’ compensation coverage?
Since 2007, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has had the authority to assess penalties or stop-work orders (SWOs) for any employers who fail to meet these requirements. For promoting compliance, SWOs have proven an effective tactic.
The Board has issued approximately 16,000 SWOs since 2007. These include 1,454 SWOs in 2017 alone. The vast majority of these SWOs get issued in one of the five boroughs of the state.
Terms And Concepts Used In Workers’ Compensation Cases
To better understand the incidence of workers’ comp claims in Brooklyn, it’s vital to have a basic command of concepts and terms commonly used when it comes to these cases. These terms include:
- First report of injury (FROI)
- Subsequent report of injury (SROI)
- Assembled claims
- Controverted claims
- Established claims
- Claim Resolution (e.g., informal resolutions, formal resolutions, appeals process)
Let’s dive into each of these concepts a bit further and how they relate to workers’ comp cases in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Workers’ Compensation Concepts And Terms
The first report of injury or FROI is the process by which an employer documents every work-related injury to its insurance company. Your employer is required to submit an FROI once you let them know you’ve been injured or have become ill.
Whether or not your employer accepts liability, they still have to fill out an FROI. Once submitted, the employer will have to fill out one or more required subsequent reports of injury (SROIs).
One or more SROIs will get filed after payments start, and these documents have a direct impact on the workers’ comp benefits that an employee receives.
We call a claim “assembled” once the Board learns of a workplace injury and assigns an official case number to it. This process usually occurs when the Board receives a qualifying medical form along with notice of a workers’ comp incident.
Controverted claims are those in which an insurance company or employer challenges the eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. In this event, a pre-hearing conference occurs and can be expedited under certain circumstances.
The Board will decide on the employer’s liability in the claim, even if the insurer has agreed to pay. The Board usually establishes claims with a compensable loss of time.
Claim resolution remains the missing piece of the puzzle. This resolution can go a couple of different ways.
Claim Resolution For Workers’ Compensation
Claim resolution can come in several forms, including:
- Informal resolutions
- Formal resolutions
- Appeals process
It may surprise you to know that more than half of all workers’ compensation cases get resolved through informal resolution. Informal resolutions include administration determinations, conciliation, and desk determinations.
While there is a shift away from formal resolutions, they still do occur under certain circumstances. These resolutions require a full hearing and final decision determined by a judge.
What if one of the parties decides that the judge had an error of fact in the final decision? Then, they can file an objection via an administrative appeal.
The Board has worked hard to speed up the appeals process. Today, more than 90 percent of appealed cases are less than six months old.
Common Work-Related Injuries
What do common types of work-related injuries look like? Those most often sustained at work include:
- Repetitive motions injuries
- Auto accidents
- Slips, trips, or falls
- Falling objects
- Machinery accidents
- Workplace violence
That said, this is by no means a complete list. Nonetheless, exploring each one a bit further will give you a better sense of the dangers employees often confront on the job.
Overextensions often occur when employees are involved in motions such as pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying, gripping, or throwing.
These actions can lead to injuries of the soft-tissue such as sprains, muscle tears, back issues, and damage to tendons or ligaments.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
As for repetitive strain injuries? You’re likely already familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome. But injuries may also impact your neck, arm, vision, and more.
When it comes to severe injuries and fatalities, motor vehicle accidents rank at the top. Workers who drive as a part of their job need to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Have you sustained injuries in a car or truck accident while on the job? Then, you need to visit a physician right away to start the workers’ comp claim process.
Slips, Trips, And Falls
As for the most common cause of disability among American workers? Slips, trips, and falls are the culprits. Twenty to 30 percent of the slip or fall accidents lead to severe injuries.
These injuries include everything from head trauma to sprained muscles, torn ligaments, and severe bruising. Many slips and trips result from cluttered workplaces or issues with machine lubricants, fluids, or beverages.
Some employees, like construction workers, roofers, painters, etc., are also at risk for falling from heights, especially when working on ladders, scaffolding, or near stairs.
Falling objects can hurt workers in many different ways. Whether it’s objects falling from product shelves, forklifts, or other upper-level work areas, they can result in severe injuries to the foot, neck, face, head, and more.
Machinery accidents can contribute to horrific accidents such as amputated fingers or other body parts. Malfunctioning equipment can also lead to thermal, chemical, or electrical burns.
Many employees don’t think about this last category of workplace risk, yet it poses a significant threat. Criminal activity can happen anywhere, including the workplace.
Thefts, burglaries, and armed robberies can lead to debilitating or life-threatening injuries.
Situations also arise where current employees or former employees get into altercations at the job site. In some cases, even dissatisfied customers pose a threat.
In these cases, you need to understand that workers’ compensation still applies.
Common Work-Related Illnesses
Illnesses linked to workplaces represent another clear and present danger, particularly in fields where you have to deal with dangerous chemicals and biological agents. What are some work-related illnesses employees commonly report?
- Work-related diseases from biological agents
- Skin diseases
- Work-related cancer, including mesothelioma/asbestosis
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Mental health disorders
- Stress-related disorders
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Respiratory illness
- Black lung disease
To successfully receive workers’ compensation in connection with these conditions, you must show clear linkages between your job and the cause of your illness.
Because it can take months, years, or even decades for some work-related illnesses to develop, demonstrating these links often proves tricky.
You may need to build a case around:
- Treatment records from medical assistance you received
- An official diagnosis from the medical doctor who saw and treated you
- Expert testimony from professionals or specialists with knowledge of the illness
- Data and studies showing a high rate of disease among workers in the same workplace or field
- Test and lab results from your Brooklyn workers’ comp doctor orders
As long as you can show a relationship between the condition and your workplace, you should receive the compensation entitled to you.
The Role Of A Workers’ Comp Doctor
Necessary and reasonable medical care remains one of the most critical aspects of workers’ comp benefits. When it comes to a Brooklyn workers’ compensation doctor, what should you look for?
A physician who can treat your injuries as well as advocate on your behalf. After all, your treating doctor’s opinion will carry significant weight during your compensation case.
Unlike a specialist who may only see you once or twice, your treating doctor should not only make an initial diagnosis but follow up with regular examinations. That way, they can monitor your recovery. They’ll also have a better understanding of your injuries.
Your physician will also make a variety of critical decisions when it comes to your care, such as:
- Diagnosing your condition
- Referring you to specialists
- Treating your condition
- Deciding on your work restrictions
- Determining your level of permanent disability
- Providing evidence for your claim
Who gets to decide on your treating doctor? There’s no simple answer to this question.
Finding A Workers’ Compensation Doctor In Brooklyn
Rules vary by state. Some places, like California, let you “predesignate” your primary care doctor to treat work-related injuries.
Other states, however, may provide a list of authorized workers’ comp doctors from which to choose. In still others, the company may get to choose the treating doctor, which often results in substandard care and conflicts of interest.
It’s not uncommon for a company’s treating physicians to deny necessary treatments (such as surgery) because the company doesn’t want to pick up the tab. Or they may push you to return to work more quickly.
Find out more about what to do if you’re not happy with your workers’ comp treating physician.
Fortunately, New York employees generally have the right to pick their doctor, and they are eligible for compensation as long as they and their doctor follow the rules related to workers’ comp.
Workers’ Compensation Doctor Versus A Specialist
Depending on your condition, your workers’ compensation doctor may send you to a specialist. For example, if you have a traumatic brain injury, you’ll need to see a neurologist.
For back pain, however, you may get referred to a chiropractor for adjustments to your alignment. For chronic pain, you’ll likely visit a pain management doctor to help with discomfort.
For broken bones and other functional disabilities, an orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your condition. Finally, physical therapy proves helpful for everything from back pain to repetitive injuries.
If you’ve been injured on the job, start by finding a skilled treating doctor. No matter what you need, we’re here to help. Reach out to us for the support you need during this difficult time.
Call (888) 590-4030 to find an experienced Brooklyn workers’ comp doctor near you.