Purpose New York State Workers’ Compensation Law
Simply stated, the purpose of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law is to provide supplemental wages to those injured at work, during the period of time they are unable to work as a result of their on the job injury. In addition, it is the intent of the New York Workman’s Comp Law to provide the injured worker with prompt medical treatment so he or she can get better and return to work as soon as possible.
The most frustrating aspect of the New York Workman’s Comp system is the system itself and the majority of the procedural rules which favor the Insurance carrier and employer in the defense of their claims. Once a carrier decides to defend a worker’s comp claim it could take anywhere from a few months to over a year to obtain a final decision from the Workers’ Compensation Board. During this period of litigation it may be necessary to obtain written clarification of medical reports from physicians and health care providers alike.
Thereafter, the client may be required to testify as to how he/she was injured and then work to discredit insurance company witnesses who may appear in an attempt to defeat the claim. Finally, the case will be ready for a judges decision after medical testimony is taken and legal arguments are made. Unfortunately, during this period of litigation the insurance company is not required to pay lost wages or for medical treatment. This can prove to be a frustrating time for the injured worker and his family.
Why You Need a Lawyer
While an injured worker is not required to have an attorney, failure to retain counsel in litigated cases is never wise. Whether an insurance company is fighting a claim or making temporary payments they in every instance will have a team of lawyers protecting their interests. That’s right, a team of lawyers – an outside law firm and in-house attorneys – essentially watching your every move, reviewing every statement you gave and document created, in hopes of building their defense or creating issues of defense later in the claims process.
Whether it is our firm or another New York Workman’s Comp law firm, it is our steadfast belief than an injured worker should always have benefit of counsel. From the get go, an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney will have the skill to narrow the legal issues that should be pursued on behalf of his client before the Workers’ Compensation Board and help you through the Workers’ Compensation claims process. Thereafter, your skilled Workers’ Compensation attorney can work with your healthcare providers to obtain the necessary medical history and medical opinions to produce the required medical report essential to moving forward.
Proper preparation for client and witness testimony is a must. Equally important is the art of taking medical testimony which could prove to be the pivotal testimony in any Workers’ Compensation case. Finally, an experienced Worker’s Compensation attorney will know how to more efficiently “meander” through the Workers’ Compensation system itself, drastically reducing the time it takes to successfully litigate and win your claim.
It is the policy at Zappone & Fiore to personally meet with each and every new Workers’ Compensation client as soon as possible. During our free consultation we will thoroughly review the facts of each individual’s case and clearly advise each individual of their rights and obligations under the Workers’ Compensation Law, as well as answer any questions they may have about the Workers’ Compensation claims process.
If the client so chooses and we go forward with the legal engagement we take a proactive approach to filling the necessary paperwork with the Workers’ Compensation Board to expedite the receipt of Workers’ Compensation benefits to our client. In an effort to avoid any misconstrued statements by our client, which could result in anything from additional litigation time to fraud allegations and prosecution by the insurance carrier, we as a general rule do not allow any contact with our client by any investigator or insurance company representative.
In very limited circumstances, where it’s apparent limited dialogue may be useful to resolving and/or defeating the carrier’s controversy, we will allow a meeting- only if it is conducted in our office with an attorney present.
The Attorney’s Fee
Under the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law attorneys cannot charge their clients by the hour. Attorneys representing individuals before the New York State Workers Compensation Board will only receive a fee if his or her efforts result in the client receiving money. Under all such circumstances they attorney’s fee is awarded by the presiding Judge, as opposed to being determined solely by the attorney. Attorney’s fees can range anywhere from 10% to 20% of the client’s award. However, in most instances it has been our experience that fees range between 12.5% to 15%.
Finally, based upon the serious stakes as issue coupled with the litigious nature of the Workers’ Compensation parties themselves, it is our opinion that it is imperative for an injured worker to have an attorney to protect his or her rights. Because of the fee structure, the injured worker will essentially have an attorney working for free, until and unless the case is won and the injured worker is awarded money. If there is no such award of money to the client then the attorney will not receive an attorney’s fee. In instances where the attorney has been successful in obtaining money for his client the attorney will receive an attorney’s fee which is quite nominal compared to other areas of law such as personal injury, billable hours, etc.
Who We Serve
The offices of Zappone & Fiore are located in Latham, NY. We are proud to serve the Albany Capital region, the Saratoga region and beyond – including Green Island, Troy, Rotterdam, Schenectady, Mechanicville, Amsterdam, Fort Edward, Glens Falls, Queensbury, Corinth and Fort Ann. If you live in New York State, we hope to be your injury attorneys.