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Buffalo Workers Compensation Lawyers
Experienced Work Injury Attorneys in Buffalo, NY
An individual with a workers’ compensation claim (also called a workman’s compensation or workers’ comp claim) should not rely on just any lawyer. He or she should be sure to retain an attorney who is familiar with both the substantive issues of workers’ compensation law and the procedural issues at the Workers’ Compensation Board.
Whether you’re in Buffalo or anywhere else in the state, getting hurt at work can be extremely devastating. The loss of income, even for a short period of time, along with associated medical bills, can result in financial difficulties.
Workers’ comp insurance exists to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, the workers’ compensation process doesn’t always work as expected or isn’t enough to protect the employee fully. In these situations an experienced legal team could give you the help you need.
Buffalo Workers Compensation Lawyers
Only a handful of lawyers in Western New York practice regularly at the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. Jerry A. Gambino has done so for over 30 years. In addition, he is a member of both the Erie County Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Committee and the Injured Workers’ Bar Association. As a result, he has developed a large client base in representing workers’ compensation claimants. More importantly, he has earned a reputation as a fighter for injured workers.
Your workers’ comp injury demands full, fair, and just financial compensation for medical bills and lost wages. Please contact our experienced Buffalo Workers Compensation Lawyers for the justice and peace of mind you deserve.
Workers Compensation in New York State
Workers’ comp refers to insurance that pays for lost wages and medical bills of employees who are hurt or become sick because of their job. Practically all New York employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance.
When an employee is injured, he or she can file a workers’ comp claim. Assuming the case meets certain basic requirements, the employee will receive weekly cash benefits and payment of medical bills, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. This means an employee who was directly responsible for his or her own injury can still receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, in most cases the employee cannot sue his or her employer even if the employer may have been directly responsible for the injuries. There are a few exceptions to this limitation.
Why Can’t I Sue for My Injuries?
Generally speaking, if you were injured on the job, you cannot sue your employer for compensation for those injuries. There are two major exceptions to this rule:
- Your injuries were the result of your employer’s intentional or egregious conduct. You may, however, be able to sue your employer under a personal injury claim.
- Your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance. If this happens, you may still be able to recover from the New York State Uninsured Employers Fund.
Even if you can’t sue your employer, you may be able to sue the responsible party if:
- Your injuries were due to a defective or toxic product.
- Your injury was the fault of someone not connected in any way to your employer.
What’s Covered and Not Covered by Workers Compensation Insurance
In order to recover workers’ comp, you must have been accidentally injured while on the job, working as an employee. Additionally, your injuries must be related to the job. For instance, if you’re a professional painter and hurt your back while painting a customer’s house, that’s probably covered. But you’re probably not covered if you were injured when a drunk driver ran off the road and hit you during a painting job.
Even if you meet the requirements, you could still be ineligible to receive workers’ comp benefits if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury or you were acting inappropriately on the job, – for example, horseplaying, or knowingly and intentionally misusing equipment.
Workers Compensation Benefits
If you have been injured at work, the benefits you receive will depend upon the extent of the injury and whether or not you can work. Our firm can help ensure that you receive the workers’ comp benefits you deserve.
Our team of Buffalo Workers Compensation Lawyers help injured workers throughout Western New York obtain their rightful benefits for all types of injuries, including:
- Neck and back injuries
- Knee, shoulder and joint injuries
- Eye and ear injuries
- Head injuries
- Burn injuries
- Repetitive injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Occupational illnesses and diseases caused by exposure to toxic chemicals and other hazardous substances
Calculating Workers’ Compensation Payments
The most you can get each week is two-thirds (up to certain limits) of your weekly wage, and most likely it’ll be less than that. That’s because the Workers Compensation Board calculated your weekly compensation payments based on a percentage of your weekly wage and your level of disability. So if you made $500 per week and the Board considered you to be 100% disabled, you would get $333.33 every week. But if you were 50% disabled, you would only get $166.67 every week. And if you return to work, but cannot work at full capacity, you’re eligible to receive reduced earning compensation.
An injured employee is eligible to obtain all required medical care related to the work injury or illness. Medical benefits can also include out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel costs to get medical care you need. However, there are some rules on payments for the medical care.
One of the biggest restrictions is that Workers Compensation Board has to authorize any health care provider an injured party wants to use, except in cases of emergency treatment. Additionally, the employee may have to obtain prescription drugs and receive medical tests from facilities and pharmacies of the workers’ compensation insurance company’s choosing.
What Should I Do If I Get Hurt at Work?
The first thing you need to do is get emergency medical attention as necessary. Next, you’ll need to report the injury or illness, in writing, to the appropriate department or employer representative. Then you need to fill out the necessary paperwork and submit it to the Workers Compensation Board.
What Happens if My Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied?
If the Workers Compensation Board denies your claim, or your workers’ comp benefits are much smaller than you think they should be, you may need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. They understand the intricacies of a workers’ compensation claim and can help identify certain critical steps you may have missed.
In the event of a denial, you will need to file an appeal with the Workers Compensation Board. You will attend a hearing where a judge will decide whether to overturn your denial or award you additional compensation. While you are not required to have an attorney present for this hearing and appeals process, you should consider hiring one to advise you and secure the best possible outcome from this process..
Experience, Integrity, and Personal Service
Our Buffalo Workers Compensation Lawyers have extensive experience handling work injury cases resulting from:
- General Negligence
- Construction Accidents
- Slip-and-Fall Cases
- Defective Work Products or Equipment
- Lifting Injuries
- Repetitive Use Injuries
We use our experience, skill, and commitment to injured workers’ rights to secure the benefits to which our clients our entitled. We are flexible with our meeting schedules, and we return after-hours communications promptly. You can trust our law firm’s reputation for attentive personal service with your workers’ comp case.
Contact Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C., online or call to arrange your initial consultation with one of our Buffalo Workers Compensation Lawyers. We welcome the opportunity to represent you.
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“Extremely professional, knowledgeable, and ethical firm. All my questions were answered almost immediately and I never felt like “just a number.” They truly care about their clients.”
– Julie Momot
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