Having a hard working, experienced legal team fighting for your best interest is not just a privilege of the rich and powerful. Dolce Panepinto, P.C., is proud to level the playing field for working families. Our team of experienced, approachable attorneys includes laborers, an ironworker, labor organizers, and civil rights advocates. We are a full service personal injury firm created by, and for, workers. In addition to personal injury, our firm focuses on workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, and all injury-related matters.
Attorney Kristin Allen has put together responses to some of the most commonly asked workers’ compensation questions. For more info, or if you have been injured or would like to file a workers’ compensation claim, please contact Kristin today at 585-815-9003 for a free case evaluation.
1. How do I know if I have a workers’ compensation claim?
If you have been hurt at work, are in pain because of a repetitive motion you must perform as part of your job, or are sick due to something you were exposed to at work, then you most likely have a workers’ compensation claim. Contact our office for a free case evaluation as soon as possible as there are time limits you must adhere to in order to file a claim.
2. How long do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim?
You are required to report your injury to your employer within 30 days. There is also a two-year time limit to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board. Failure to adhere to these time limits can result in a denial of your claim.
3. How much does a workers’ compensation attorney cost?
Workers’ compensation fees are generated on a contingent basis. This means that we only receive payment if we generate money in connection with your workers’ compensation claim, and what we take is a small percentage that is paid directly to us out of any amount awarded to you. You will never pay us anything out-of-pocket. More information on contingent fees can be found here (LINK: http://www.dolcepanepinto.com/2013/07/contingent-fee-agreements- explained/). Additionally, our attorneys can explain our attorney fees in greater detail.
4. Do I really need to look for work while I am receiving workers' compensation benefits? Even if I have a permanent disability and I have been approved for SSD?
Any time a claimant has a partial disability, whether they are temporarily or permanently partially disabled, a claimant must look for work within their restrictions in order to keep receiving lost wage benefits. This is true, even if you are actively receiving Social Security disability benefits. If you are out of work and receiving partial disability lost wage benefits, then it is your obligation to attempt to get a job. If you find a job but make less money than before you were injured, you may be entitled to reduced earnings. This means there are times that you can return to the workforce and still receive workers' compensation lost wage benefits.
There are several employment resources that may help you with your job search or retraining. They include: ACCES-VR, Genesee County Job Development Bureau, or any One-Stop Career Center, etc. There are also many online websites that aid in local job searching.
5. Am I able to receive an award for pain and suffering as part of my workers' compensation claim?
No, there is no award for pain and suffering when you file a workers' compensation claim. The workers’ compensation system is in place to compensate workers for lost wages and medical treatment only.
6. Is a workers’ compensation claim my only option if I am hurt at work?
In New York State, you cannot sue your employer but in some circumstances, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. This includes, but is not limited to, injuries sustained in a work-related motor-vehicle accident, constructions injuries, or injuries sustained at a location not owned by your employer. Our team of attorneys at Dolce Panepinto will assess your claim to ensure that every legal avenue available to you is pursued.
7. I have a job that involves repetitive work and now I have pain in my hands and shoulders, is this covered by workers' compensation since I did not actually have an injury on any particular date?
Yes, depending on what your job entails, a worker can develop an injury over time due to repetitive work. This is considered an "occupational disease" and a claim for medical treatment and lost wages can be filed. This should be filed with the Workers' Compensation Board within two years of when you knew or should have known it was work-related.
8. I work in a very noisy environment and I am noticing that I have hearing loss from it. Can I file a claim for loss of hearing? When do I file it?
Yes, this is called "occupational hearing loss." You have two years and 90 days from when you stop working in the noisy environment to file a claim for hearing loss. The test for loss of hearing must be done at least 90 days after removal from the noisy workplace.
If you or a member of your family has been injured, please contact us today at 585-815-9003.