Suppose you have been injured while at work. In this case, you may be wondering how you are going to pay your bills and provide for yourself and your family. You may need to take time off of work to heal from your injuries. In New York, you can file a workers’ compensation claim to receive weekly cash benefits while you cannot work due to your injuries. To obtain workers’ compensation benefits, you will need to prove that your injury or illness happened while you were on the job.
In other words, you will need to show that your injury or illness occurred as a direct result of your employment. Usually, this is an issue, but sometimes employers try to dispute that an employee’s injury happened at work to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits. If you have been injured on the job, it is crucial that you keep a detailed record of your injury and medical treatment so you can provide solid proof that your injury did happen at work.
Proving Your Injury Happened at Work
If you would like to file a workers’ compensation claim in New York, you will need to prove the following three elements:
- You were at work when you were injured
- You were well engaged in activities that fit the description of “work-related activities” when injured
- You actually suffered an injury
Without your job, would you have been injured? If you can answer no to this question, your injury or illness will probably be categorized as a work-related injury. You will need to show that your employment is the main reason you were exposed to your injury or factors that led to your illness. In other words, you only need to prove that your employment is the main reason you were exposed to your injury, not the only reason you were exposed to your injury.
Evidence Proving Your Injury Happened at Work
We recommend discussing your case with an employment attorney who can help you gather evidence showing that your injury did happen at work. At Stanley Law Offices, our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients and workers’ compensation matters. We can help you gather evidence showing that you are entitled to the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve, such as:
- Witness testimonies: if anybody else was present when your work-related accident occurred, we could help you make statements of their observations. We can also help gather detailed accounts of what they saw as soon as possible before their memories begin to fade.
- Security footage: If your workplace has security cameras, we can help you request a copy of the footage of the date of your accident. These cameras will often capture what happened and prove that your injury occurred while you were on the job. When available, security footage is some of the most important types of evidence you can gather.
- Doctor’s notes: No matter what type of illness or injury you have sustained, you will need a diagnosis from a medical doctor. The doctor’s sign notice can have a substantial impact in proving that your injury occurred at work. Additionally, if you need physical therapy due to your injury or illness, keeping accurate records of the dates and duration of your treatment can be important.
- Prescriptions: If your doctor has prescribed you any sort of medication, keep a copy of the statement from your doctor about how these medications will affect you, why you need them, and their purpose.
- Written employer notifications: To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must inform your employer that your accident or illness happened within 15 days of the injury or the dates you discovered your injury. You will need to promptly notify your workplace of your injury to ensure that you meet the deadlines and reduce the chances that your employer will challenge you regarding whether your injury happened at work.
Proving Stress-Related Injuries at Work
In some cases, it is relatively straightforward to prove that your injury occurred at work. For example, suppose a forklift driver rolled the forklift over your foot and broke it in several places. In that case, you will be able to use your testimony and the forklift driver’s testimony to prove that the accident happened while on the job. However, other injuries are more difficult to prove as work-related.
In New York, it is possible to obtain workers’ compensation benefits due to extreme work-related stress. New York judges have ruled that normal work-related stress such as working extra hours because a co-worker is on leave isn’t enough to allow for workers’ compensation benefits. There are exceptions, however. A toxic work environment can cause work-related stress and other psychological traumas. If you have a diagnosed mental illness or work-related anxiety from any of the following situations, you may have a valid claim for workers compensation benefits:
- You are physically injured on the job, and your mental anxiety or stress is a byproduct of your physical injury
- A traumatic event happened at your workplace while you were performing your work duties, and you suffered psychological distress from the traumatic event
- The mental trauma came about because of extremely adverse working conditions
Cumulative Injuries at Work
Other work-related injuries do not happen in one single incident. The injuries may be cumulative and occur over a period of time. These types of injuries are often called repetitive stress injuries. For example, if you have been exposed to toxic substances over a long period, it could cause cancer or other serious illnesses. Alternatively, if you use one or more joints in a specific, repetitive movement at work, it could cause damage over time that leads to an injury. It can be more challenging to prove a cumulative injury than a single accident claim, which is why you need an experienced attorney on your side.
Contact an NY Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured at work, you need an experienced attorney. Contact the New York employment lawyers at Stanley Law Offices today to schedule your free initial consultation.