In the hours and days after getting hurt at work, you are probably focused on getting the medical care you need to relieve your pain and regain bodily function as quickly as possible. It’s understandable that you aren’t thinking of workers’ compensation immediately after a serious work-related accident.
But if you have not thought about starting the workers’ comp process yet, now may be the time. New York’s workers’ compensation system sets out a strict timeline to begin a claim and is clear about what you must do to get the ball rolling. If you wait too long, you could lose your chance of getting workers’ comp benefits while you recover.
The clock starts ticking once you get hurt
The first step in a successful workers’ compensation claim is to notify your employer about your injury or illness. In general, you must tell your employer in writing within 30 days of the injury occurring. In fact, you should provide written notice as soon as you possibly can, but 30 days is the absolute limit in New York State. After that, it could be too late, no matter how badly you are hurt and how obviously you should be entitled to benefits.
One reason for this rule is that once your employer finds out that you were seriously injured on the job, it has ten days to notify its workers’ compensation insurance provider. This begins the process of dealing with the insurance company to reach a settlement on how much compensation you deserve and for how long. In some cases, you may have to appeal a rejected claim or lowball offer.