Although, workplaces today are much safer and healthier than 20 or 30 years ago, work-related injuries and fatalities happen every year, particularly in high-risk industries like construction. Close to 5,000 Americans are killed in their job every year and over 3 million suffer serious work-related injuries from which they never fully recover.
The most common causes of work-related injuries include: repetitive motion and overexertion, violent acts of co-workers, machine entanglement, defective equipment, tripping, falling, slipping, reaction injuries, falling from heights (ladders, platforms, scaffolding), vehicle accidents, exposure to toxic materials and chemicals, inadequate work safety (failure to follow safety guidelines) and reckless behavior.
If you live in the State of New York and you have sustained a work-related injury, illness or disability, you could be entitled to compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Law. In order to do so, you will need to report your injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. If you fail to notify your employer / supervisor within 30 days from the date you sustained the work-related injury, you may lose the right to claim compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Law. If you develop an occupational disease, this deadline is two years after the date the disablement. Also, make sure to complete Form C-3 (a claim for worker’s compensation) and send it via registered mail to the nearest office of the Workers’ Compensation Board immediately after the accident.
You are also strongly advised to find a competent and experienced workplace accident lawyer because consulting a lawyer is essential any time there is a serious injury. There is special legislation in place in the State of New York that provides additional protection to certain types of workers, particularly those working in construction. By contacting a good workplace accident lawyer, you will increase your chances of getting a fair compensation for your injuries. Bear in mind that legal consultation is free. In case you do contact a lawyer, you will need to produce evidence of your work-related injury or occupational illness.
The damages you may receive under the Workers’ Compensation Law include weekly compensation (the amount of weekly benefits for total disability is usually 60% or 2/3 (66 2/3%) of the employee’s pre-injury average weekly wage), permanent impairment benefits, medical bills and vocational rehabilitation which is essentially job retraining into a new line of work.