No matter where you work, accidents and resulting injuries occur all the time and to anyone, regardless of age or occupation. In some industries, these accidents happen more frequently or the employees of a company are put at risk more often than in other lines of work. Whenever an accident happens and employees are injured or become ill, they deserve to be compensated for it. Usually, this comes in the form of medical bill payment and compensated wages paid for by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation (also known as workman’s compensation and workers’ comp) is a type of insurance which most states require businesses to maintain in order to protect the business and its employees should the employee become injured or fall ill on the job or during the course of normal job activities. The idea behind workers’ compensation is that it will ensure that businesses and their employees are not put in a position of financial strain when an accident occurs. The potential damages that may result from a work-based injury or illness could easily bankrupt a company and seriously impact the livelihoods of those who were involved in the accident.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in New York during COVID-19
While most people generally think of employees sustaining serious injuries in the workplace when they hear the term “workers’ compensation,” the term can also include the contraction of illnesses while at work. Proving a workers’ compensation claim for an injury is much easier than the illness because the accident can be demonstrated more easily than proving without a doubt that the contraction of an illness happened at work. The Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) is the latest concern for employees as businesses start to reopen.
In New York, workers’ compensation benefits have been expanded to include the contraction of COVID-19 on the job. Because COVID-19 is an airborne illness, it may be difficult to verify where an infected person contracted the virus. However, if the employee can show definitively that he or she contracted COVID-19 while at work, then that person may be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits from their employer.
Temporary Disability Workers’ Compensation Benefits in New York
In New York, there are two types of temporary workers’ compensation benefits that you may be eligible for if you have been injured or contracted an illness on the job. When you have sustained an injury that temporarily inhibits your ability to fulfill the duties of your occupation, you may be eligible for temporary workers’ compensation benefits. If you need more than seven days off of work to recover from your injury, the benefits can replace part of your lost wages. The amount you receive depends on your average income before the injury as well as the extent of your temporary disability.
When a doctor says you are 100% disabled due to the injury, even on a temporary basis, your temporary disability benefits will be two-thirds of your average income, with a maximum limit. If, after your injury, you are able to do part of your previous pre-injury job, then you may be entitled to partial temporary disability benefits. The benefits are usually calculated as the difference between your average weekly wage and your current earning capacity, up to a certain maximum.
Permanent Disability Workers’ Compensation Benefits in New York
When you have maximized the abilities of medical science to improve your medical condition resulting from a work-related injury or illness and you are unable to return to work (or extremely limited work abilities), your doctor may diagnose your limitations as permanent total or partial disability. When this is the case, your workers’ compensation benefits in New York will be calculated based on the type of injury and disability as well as your pre-injury earning average.
For a permanent partial disability, the parts of the body affected will determine the award of benefits. There are scheduled loss-of-use awards and non scheduled awards. Based on your doctor’s evaluation, a workers’ compensation attorney can then help determine what type of benefits you can receive.
Limitations of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Most workers’ compensation plans do have certain limitations for the types and extent of benefits that an employee is eligible to receive based on the injuries or illnesses sustained. Here are some of the circumstances where workers’ compensation plans do not provide coverage for employers and employees:
- Injuries resulting from an employee arriving to work intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
- Injuries resulting from a fight or altercation started by the employee who was injured
- Employee intentionally injures him or herself
- Injuries that are emotional in nature and not accompanied by physical workplace trauma
Employees deserve to be covered for any injuries or illnesses resulting from their normal operations at the workplace, but there must also be limits to the possibility of injury so that the system is not compromised or taken advantage of by anyone involved.