I am looking for advice on what I can do about a somewhat minor injury that had occurred at work. I work for Carrols Corp. in Syracuse, NY. On Wednesday July 10, 2013 I had spilled coffee down the front of myself resulting in first and second degree burns. The majority of the burns are on my foot, and working on my feet all day it will be difficult to go back right away--I've already had some issues with taking the day of and after off. There are blisters and some skin that appears to be 'slid off.' my two main questions are:
•Is this a serious enough injury to be compensated
•Am I eligible even though the injuries were my fault?
Thank you for your time
3 Answers from Attorneys
You should be entitled to a WC claim.
Below is an explanation of the requirements to make a Worker's Compensation Claim as indicated on the New York State Worker's Compensation Board website (http://humanresources.about.com/od/glossaryw/g/worker_comp.htm.) Please note that the accident must be work related--you should discuss your accident with a Worker's Compensation attorney to determine whether you would qualify.
Workers' compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job.
Employers pay for this insurance, and shall not require the employee to contribute to the cost of compensation. Weekly cash benefits and medical care are paid by the employer's insurance carrier, as directed by the Workers' Compensation Board. The Workers' Compensation Board is a state agency that processes the claims. If Board intervention is necessary, it will determine whether that insurer will reimburse for cash benefits and/or medical care, and the amounts payable.
In a workers' compensation case, no one party is determined to be at fault. The amount that a claimant receives is not decreased by his/her carelessness, nor increased by an employer's fault. However, a worker loses his/her right to workers' compensation if the injury results solely from his or her intoxication from drugs or alcohol, or from the intent to injure him/herself or someone else.
A claim is paid if the employer or insurance carrier agrees that the injury or illness is work-related. If the employer or insurance carrier disputes the claim, no cash benefits are paid until the workers' compensation law judge decides who is right. If a worker is not receiving benefits because the employer or insurance carrier is arguing that the injury is not job-related, he or she may be eligible for disability benefits in the meantime. Any payments made under the Disability Program, however, will be subtracted from future workers' compensation awards.
If you can return to work but your injury prevents you from earning the same wages you once did, you may be entitled to a benefit that will make up two-thirds of the difference. You may also return to work in light or alternate duty before you are fully healed.
You have to ensure that your employer files the claim with the Worker's Compensation board. If your employer fails to do so, then you can notify the board of the incident and they will take steps to ensure that the employer files the claim.
Worker's Compensation provides benefits without regard to the fact that the incident was your fault.
Lastly, if your employer does not have worker's compensation coverage, then you may bring an action directly against it.