Starting A Compensation Claim

I was injured doing remodeling at a construction for an employer that hired me a week before my accident. Can I collect Worker’s Compensation?

Yes. It does not matter how long you have been working on a job, you can always make a Worker’s Compensation claim. Construction workers are notorious for having many employers over their work life. Union members obtain employment through their union. Non-union construction workers typically get hired by contractors that have contracts for specific work. Typically, when the job is completed, construction workers move onto to new employers or are laid off until they find more construction work.

In order to start a Compensation claim, you must notify your employer of your accident and injuries within 30 days of your accident. Second, you need to notify the Compensation Board within two years of your accident. Most injured workers notify their employers immediately after their accident. The second notification to the Compensation Board can be submitted online or you can download a packet from the Compensation Board. Many people hire a Compensation lawyer or representative to help them complete the paperwork.

Compensation benefits are paid by the employer’s Compensation carrier as soon as your doctor submits a disability report and you submit your intial report of incident. Employers have the right to contest Compensation claims, but if you were injured while doing construction work at the job site during working hours, you will be successful with your claim. Medical and travel expenses (to and from the doctor) are also covered by Compensation.


I was involved in a car accident last year. The only injury I sustained was a large cut on my arm that has left me with a scar. Can you tell me if it is worth trying to bring a case over a scar?

The short answer is yes. In New York, if you were involved in a car accident, your medical bills are covered by No-Fault. (Generally, the vehicle in which you were riding or driving has a health insurance rider attached to the car insurance policy which covers medical expenses. But if you were driving or riding for your job, your employer’s worker’s compensation policy would cover medical expenses.)

In addition to medical expenses, you may also make a claim for pain and suffering against the at-fault parties who caused your injuries. Under the no-fault law, you can sue for and be awarded damages for a scar. There may be certain tiny scars which may not be awarded damages. However, you stated that you sustained a “large” cut, so I am assuming you have a corresponding “large” scar.

Scar cases are generally quick to try since no doctor testimony is necessary to prove a scar was caused by a laceration. A jury would normally see hospital records, look at photographs of the laceration, and would review the scar on the injured party.

Protecting the Vulnerable

“When I was young, I was abused in a foster home. What can I do now to obtain some justice?”

I am sorry for whatever abuse you endured.

If you want justice for abuse, the first thing I would advise you to do is report what happened to the police. Your question doesn’t state your age nor the nature or time of the abuse, but I would advise you to report crimes to the police. Depending on what happened and when it happened, the District Attorney may or may not be able to bring charges against the perpetrator.

You may also have civil claims that you can bring against the perpetrator and the authority that investigated the perpetrator before and after you were placed in their custody. The Child Victims Act extended the statute of limitations for victims to make claims against perpetrators. Claims against the perpetrator directly may have no value since the perpetrator may already be in jail and unable to pay any judgment.

There may be several claims against the Department of Social Services and Child Protective Services. One claim could be Federal Civil Rights claim under 42 USC 1983. Federal Civil Rights claims require that the municipal entity showed “deliberate indifference” to the victim’s welfare and safety. That means that the municipal employee disregarded a known or obvious consequence of his action or inaction. This can be inferred from a “pattern of omissions revealing deliberate inattention to specific duties imposed for the purpose of safeguarding plaintiff’s from abuse.”

Cases like these can drag on for a long time. But the Federal claim will give the plaintiff the best chance to obtain crucial discovery, necessary to prove a claim, from the municipal entity. Most of the records of these agencies are protected from discovery by statute. But a viable claim against the municipal entity would give the Court the leverage to order documents to be turned over during discovery.

There are many other considerations and claims. Needless to say, an extended consultaion with an attorney would be your best course of action.

Assaults at Work II

In a previous post, the issue of Compensation for assaults by a co-worker was addressed. The question was asked if an assault by a co-worker was covered by Worker’s Compensation. The answer was Compensation would cover a claim arising out of an assault that occurred on the job. A second issue that may arise in this case is the right of an employee to directly sue a co-employee for assault.

Generally, employees may sue not their co-worker’s for negligence. If your co-worker’s negligence causes you to sustain injuries on the job, then your exclusive remedy is Compensation benefits. However, if that co-worker punches you, then you can also sue that co-worker for assault.  Unlike Compensation claims, in a suit for assault, the injured employee can obtain an award for pain and suffering.

Sometimes, direct suits against co-workers do not work out. Sometimes, employees may not be able to identify the assailant.  Sometimes, law suits against co-workers result in judgments that can never be collected because the assailant is insolvent.

But the injured worker can still elect to sue the assailant and can have a judgment against that person in the event the assailant ever becomes solvent in the future.

Injuries at School

“My daughter was injured playing softball at school.  She broke her ankle and needed a rod and pins inserted in her leg to repair it. Can she sue the school?”

Injuries incurred while engaging in recreational activities may lead to a successful claim against the school.  But while playing any sport, every particpant assumes that she or he will be subject to some risk that is not present in the classroom. The question of school liability comes down to handling the risk in the best way possible.

The standards for school conduct are different if the activity occurred during school hours in a physical education class versus an interscholastic competition. Besides seeing if written safety policies were followed, the court would have to look at the equipment involved (was it certified by the National Operating Commttee on Standards for Athletic Equipment?). Were the parents fully apprised of all the risks? How much training and experience did the coach have? Was the coach ever evaluated? Were there any prior complaints about the coach? If the safety equipment was certified, did the athlete have adaquate training so she knew how to use the equipement? Did the athlete have proper training to avoid injury? Was the athlete in good physical condition so she could avoid injury? Was the school equiped to render medical assitance so as to avoid further injury to the athlete?

There are many more areas of inquiry depending upon the cirmstances. Without spending more time discussing specifics, it is impossible to determine if the school was liable.