Workers' Compensation Topics

Denied Workers’ Compensation Claims

Even in instances where there is no doubt in your mind that you suffered an injury as a result of your work activity, the insurance carrier may deny your claim. This is even more common in a scenario where your injury is the result of repetitive work and developed gradually overtime, as opposed to resulting from a specific accident. It can prove to be a difficult task to show the insurance carrier that your injury resulted from your work activity. When you aren’t able to prove the injury resulted from work, the insurance carrier will reject the claim. When that happens, we are willing to fight for your rights and work to prove your injury was caused by your work activity.

As an injured worker, it is paramount that you understand it is not the end of the road when the insurance carrier denies your claim. At the Steenberg Law Firm, we are not intimidated by insurance adjusters and we are happy to go to battle for you. We will guide you through the process of a denied claim confidently and strategically, educating you along the way, while we pursue a favorable outcome on your behalf. Whether you have aggravated a pre-exiting injury, or suffered a new injury, we will be sure that everything is properly documented and any and all helpful evidence is gathered and made available for the Judge, presenting the best case for you to be successful.

It is important to understand your rights and all the options available to you. Whether it is your employer or the insurance carrier, don’t let their advice to you be the only advice you hear. When your claim is denied, an opinion from the experienced attorneys at the Steenberg Law Firm can help you to understand the whole picture and give you peace of mind when dealing with the stress of a denied claim.


Workers' Compensation Death Benefits

In general, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law is designed to compensate injured workers for an injury on the job. However, in the tragic event that a workplace accident results in the death of the worker, the Workers’ Compensation Law also provides for death benefits to eligible decedents’ surviving spouse, children, parents, and/or estate.

Typically, death benefits include the cost of funeral and burial expenses (generally up to $10,500), along with weekly cash benefits to the decedents’ spouse, dependent children, and other dependents. The amount payable to any death benefit recipient is based on the decedent’s wages while working (2/3 X average weekly wage = weekly benefit amount). Aside from the decedent’s earnings, the death benefit also depends on what the decedents’ family composition was at the time of their death. This is outlined below.

Amount payable to decedent’s beneficiaries:

Spouse w/ no children: 66 ⅔% + two-year lump sum upon remarriage

Spouse and children: 36 ⅔% + two-year lump sum upon remarriage to spouse, 30% shared equally to children

Children w/ no spouse: 66 ⅔% shared equally

No spouse or children; dependent grandchildren or sibling: 25% to each dependent until condition met

No spouse or children; dependent parent or grandparent: 40% to each dependent during dependency

No spouse, children, or dependents: $50,000 to parents or to decedent’s estate

Children are only covered until the age of 18 or the age of 23 if they go to college.

In the unfortunate event of a death on the job or as the result of an injury on the job, it can be common to assume there is no recourse by way of the workers’ compensation system. The decedents’ estate should understand the benefits they are able to pursue to help cope in such a difficult circumstance. The attorneys at the Steenberg Law Firm are here to assist, with compassion and empathy, throughout that process.


Common Accidents at Work

The Workers’ Compensation Law provides benefits for two different types of injuries:

  1. Injuries resulting from a specific accident.
  2. Injuries resulting from repetitive use or motion over an extended period of time (occupational disease).

An injury as a result of an accident is typically easier for an injured worker to identify. Perhaps you are a nurse who was lifting a patient and felt immediate pain in your shoulder, or a delivery driver who was lifting a package and had an immediate onset of pain in your low back. Both of these examples are easily identifiable events that caused immediate injuries and are referred to as an “accident.” In the event of an accident, it is important that you tell your supervisor about your injury immediately and complete a written accident report in order to comply with time requirements within the Workers’ Compensation Law. Accidents, resulting in injury, occur constantly on the job and you should not hesitate to contact the attorneys at the Steenberg Law Firm for guidance.

It can be a bit trickier when there is not a specific accident that is easily identifiable as the cause of an injury. Often, factory workers who do the same repetitive motion on a daily basis (bending and lifting boxes/parts on to a conveyor belt; assembling small pieces requiring fine motor skills; operating a machine requiring a specific/repetitive body motion; etc.) can develop an injury over an extended period of time. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also a common injury developing over time, for workers in jobs that require repetitive use of the hands, fine manipulation of the hands, or typing on the computer (i.e. secretary/typist). An injury that results from repetitive use or motion over time is referred to as an “occupational disease.” These claims can be much more difficult to prove to the insurance carrier, but the experienced attorneys at the Steenberg Law Firm can help to show that your repetitive use injury is in fact related to your work activities.

Common Causes of Workplace Injuries:

Falls from height

Work-related motor vehicle accidents

Lifting/pushing/pulling accidents

Slip and falls

Slip and falls

Repetitive lifting injuries

Repetitive motion injuries

Noise exposure resulting in hearing loss

If you have any question as to whether you have a qualified work injury and are entitled to benefits under the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law, you should not hesitate to contact the Steenberg Law Firm. We are happy to discuss your claim with you and assist in any way possible.


Common Types of Work Injuries

If you have made your way to this informational page, you have likely already been injured on the job. No matter the stage of your case; whether you are still seeking medical treatment, your claim has been denied by the insurance carrier, your claim is already established and active, or you are years into your claim and are just now looking for legal representation, we can step in and begin taking some of the stress off of your shoulders.

There are many types of workplace injuries. From a sprained ankle to a broken bone to a serious spinal injury, we are able to assist you with any injury you might be suffering from. No matter what you might do for a living, there are countless ways you can be injured on the job. Below are just a few of the common workplace injuries we see:

  • Hospital workplace injuries:
Hospital workplace injuries:

Whether you work stocking product in a store or warehouse, or you are an over the road truck driver, nearly all jobs leave you susceptible to a shoulder or neck injury. Often, a neck injury can manifest with symptoms in the shoulder, or inversely a shoulder injury can manifest with symptoms in the neck. It is important to discuss these issues with you doctor to determine what the underlying injury is. It is equally important to discuss the underlying diagnosis with your attorney, as from a legal standpoint shoulder and neck injuries are handled very differently.

  • Construction accident injury:
Construction accident injury:

Given the physical nature of the job, it is no surprise that construction workers are at risk of physical injury. Whether you suffered an injury falling from an elevated work area, an object falling on you from above, as a result of operating equipment, or repetitive motion, just to name a few, you should contact one of our attorneys to discuss what steps should be taken.

  • Motor vehicle accident injuries:
Motor vehicle accident injuries:

Car accidents can result in serious injuries at times. If you are in a car accident while working, we can help you pursue medical and monetary benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If there is another party at fault, other than your employer, we can also discuss with you the possibilities of a third-party personal injury action.

  • Lifting injuries:
Lifting injuries:

Whether it be from lifting a heavy object one time or repetitive lifting over an extended period of time, lifting injuries are one of the most common injuries that occur on the job. If you believe you suffered an injury as a result of lifting something on the job, you should contact the Steenberg Law Firm to ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to.

  • Shoulder and neck injuries:
Shoulder and neck injuries:

Whether you work stocking product in a store or warehouse, or you are an over the road truck driver, nearly all jobs leave you susceptible to a shoulder or neck injury. Often, a neck injury can manifest with symptoms in the shoulder, or inversely a shoulder injury can manifest with symptoms in the neck. It is important to discuss these issues with you doctor to determine what the underlying injury is. It is equally important to discuss the underlying diagnosis with your attorney, as from a legal standpoint shoulder and neck injuries are handled very differently.

  • Knee/ankle injuries:
Knee/ankle injuries:

Workers often suffer knee or ankle injuries on the job. This can occur from something as benign as stepping off a ladder or as serious as a motor vehicle accident. In any event, whether a broken bone or a mild sprain, we can evaluate your case to ensure you are getting the medical treatment and monetary benefits you should be receiving.

  • Spine injuries:
Spine injuries:

Spine injuries can often be the mot severe. In some instances, the result in surgery and sometimes multiple surgeries. As your attorney, we can take care of making sure your medical treatment continues to get paid for by the carrier and your monetary benefits continue while you are out of work, while you focus on your treatment and getting better.

  • Hearing and vision loss:
Hearing and vision loss:

If a workplace accident or long-term occupational exposure has caused hearing or vision loss, we can help you pursue medical treatment and compensation for that loss.

The above is a short list of the possible workplace injuries you might suffer from. If you believe you have suffered a workplace injury, please contact one of the experienced attorneys at the Steenberg Law Firm to discuss your specific injury in more detail.


Pre-Existing Injuries & Conditions:

You may have found yourself in a position where you have injured yourself at work but have a pre-existing condition to that same body part. In such a scenario you may not think you can pursue a workers’ compensation claim. Or maybe you have tried to pursue the claim, but the insurance carrier has denied your claim because of your pre-existing condition. You must understand that a pre-existing condition to the same body part does not mean you do not have a viable workers’ compensation claim. Our attorneys can help you pursue that claim.

These claims can be more difficult at times and there are certain legal thresholds that must be satisfied in order to be successful in these scenarios. The attorneys at the Steenberg Law Firm are well versed in handling claims where there is already a pre-existing condition and will help you through the process. Remember, just because you had hurt a particular body site previously, does not invalidate the fact that you injured it again at work.


7.3Jeffrey M. Steenberg
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