Reimbursement of Travel and Medical Expense

“I was hurt in an accident on the job last year. Can I get reimbursed for my trips to my doctor’s office?”

Yes, you can be reimbursed for your travel expenses. In order to get reimbursed, you should submit a C-257 form to the compensation carrier and the Compensation Board. (You can download the form directly from the Board’s websit by clicking on this sentence .) If you were our client, we could assist you with this process.

You are entitled to reimbursement for attending your doctor’s appointments and other treatments you receive, such as physical therapy appointments, and traveling for diagnostic testing such as an MRI, but you do not receive reimbursement for traveling to and from your pharmacy or attending hearings at the Workers’ Compensation Board.

If you drive yourself, or a friend or relative drives you to your appointment, your travel expenses are reimbursable at the approved rate per mile.  The Carrier’s will use google maps (or a similar search engine) to determine mileage bewteen your home and your doctor’s office. You can print out the results yourself and submit the mileagle along with the form. The rate you are paid at varies year to year.  This year the rate is 56 cents per mile. By clicking on this sentence you can see the reimbursement rates over several years.

If you travel to a hospital, hospital parking is reimbursed provided you obtain a receipt. If you take public transportation, you can be reimbursed provided you obtain receipts. The MTA now offers digital receipts (even if you are taking access-a-ride) which you can use to get reimbursed.

However, using services such as Uber is not generally allowed as a reimbursable expense. First, you need a doctor’s note stating that your medications prevent you from driving and, medically, public transportation is too far away and would require too many transfers or too much time for your condition. Second, you must prove that you have no access to a motor vehicle.

You can also submit medical expenses (with receipts) that are not paid directly by the carrier. Prescription medications, over the counter medications (which your doctor recommends with a note), and bandages, crutches, canes (which your doctor recommends with a note) should be reimbursed by the carrier.

 

 

Worn Steps

“I fell inside my building on interior stairs while I was walking to my apartment. There was nothing on the stairs, but the building is old and the steps are quite worn. Do I have a case?”

You might have a case, depending upon how worn are the steps and and if that wear created a hazzardous condition on which to walk.  This is the type of defect of which our office would make a personal inspection and possibly hire an expert to examine the steps and take measurements.

Even though you may have walked up these stairs many hundreds or thousands of times, if the stairs are in such a condition so as to create a hazardous condition, then your landlord would be responsible for maintaining the stairs in a safe and passable condition.  Whatever your injuries are, we advise all of clients to go to the doctor and follow your trusted physician’s instructions so you can recover from your injuries.

 

Landlord Liability

“I fell inside of my own apartment. Can I sue my landlord?”

There is more information an attorney would need to know before he or she could really answer your question.  But my best answer is if you fell because of something you, as the tenant did, to create the condition which caused your fall, then the answer is no. However, if the the reason you fell is because of a maintenance issue the landlord is responsible for, then yes, you can sue your landlord.

To illustrate the first type of case — an accident caused by something you did — you would look at what you were doing at the time of the accident.  If you fell because you tripped on the cord to the vacuum cleaner when you were tidying up, then the landlord is not responsible. Similarly, if you fell on a wet floor because you were mopping your kitchen or bathroom floor, then you cannot sue your landlord. In both instances, you created the condition which caused your accident.

But if there is a leaky pipe in your your apartment that your landlord neglected to fix despite your repeated complaints, then you can sue your landlord. Similarly, if your landlord undertakes repairs in your apartment, but creates a hazardous condition, like construction debris or tools on the floor and someone trips and falls on one of the hazards, the the landlord is liable.