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Buffalo Workers Compensation Lawyer

Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Buffalo, NY

Workers Compensation Lawyer Buffalo, NY

At Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP, a workers’ compensation lawyer Buffalo, New York residents trust, we speak with injured workers about how to file a claim and ensure that they receive the benefits they are entitled to. Getting injured on the job is an incident that should be taken seriously, and workers should not hesitate to report the accident in addition to filing an official report. Not reporting what happened right away, it may jeopardize your chances of being approved for workers’ compensation benefits.

Filing a Report With Your Employer

As a workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY employees trust may emphasize during a phone consultation, it is important that you file an incident report for your injuries shortly afterward. In fact, the very same day would be ideal. Your employer may then send you to an appointed physician for an exam and treatment plan. This should be covered by your employer and not come out of your pocket.

Some states may require that you submit a notice to your employer in writing about the accident, while others may permit a verbal notice. If you did report the incident via writing, request a copy from your employer and share it with us at Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP so we have as much information as possible.

Keeping Up With Doctor’s Orders

After receiving care from a doctor, it is imperative that you abide by their recommendations. For example, if your doctor restricts you to only being able to do desk duties and not lifting anything over 25lbs, then you cannot break these guidelines. If you do, your employer may claim that you are not as injured as you initially made it seem, and try to either cancel or minimize the benefits you receive.

Retaliation and Harassment

Unfortunately, a workers’ compensation lawyer Buffalo, New York clients depend on has seen the way that employers may treat an injured worker differently due to using workers’ compensation benefits. If you suspect that your employer has retaliated against, harassed, or otherwise mistreated you in the workplace, then it’s certainly time to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY injured employees trust for quality legal services. Here are other signs that retaliation may be occurring:

  • You have been reassigned to another department
  • You have been demoted
  • You have received a pay decrease
  • You have been discouraged from pursuing well-deserved promotions
  • Your boss has fired you
  • Your coworkers have created a hostile environment

Qualities to Look for in a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you were hurt at work, it’s important to have a workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY on your side. However, with so many different lawyers out there, how do you select the right one? Here are the qualities you should look for:

  • Workers’ Compensation Experience: Not all lawyers are equipped to handle workers’ compensation cases. While a divorce or estate lawyer may take your case, he or she doesn’t have the type of experience and skills you’re looking for. It’s important to select a lawyer who actually has several years of experience with workers’ compensation claims. This way, he or she will know the ins and outs of filing a claim and can improve your chances of getting a fair settlement.
  • Injury-Specific Experience: It’s also important to find a lawyer who is familiar with your specific injury. If your lawyer has represented others with your injury, he or she will be able to build a stronger case and help you get more compensation.
  • Compassionate: Getting injured on the job can be a traumatic experience. In addition to dealing with the pain of your injury, you have to deal with the stress of filing a claim. That’s why you should hire a workers’ compensation lawyer who has compassion. He or she should appreciate that you’re going through a difficult time and offer words of encouragement.
  • Good Communication Skills: The workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY you hire should be very communicative. He or she should take the time to explain things in a language you can understand and answer all of your questions. Your lawyer should also update you frequently about your case and never leave you in the dark.
  • Honest: A workers’ compensation lawyer should always be honest with you. A lawyer shouldn’t just tell you what you want to hear so that you hire him or her. For example, if the lawyer detects some weaknesses in your workers’ compensation case, he or she should inform you.
  • Passionate: A workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY should also be passionate about his or her profession. The more passionate your lawyer is, the harder he or she will work for you. Pay attention to how your lawyer communicates with you during your consultation. Does he or she ask you many questions and seems genuinely interested in your case? Or does your lawyer just seem to be going through the motions?

Appealing a Claim Denial

When you want to challenge a denied workers’ compensation claim, you should speak with a trusted member of our team. As you are facing pain from the injuries you sustained at work and are likely wondering how you will pay for the medical bills, you do not need to worry about having a denied workers’ compensation claim. This kind of scenario happens to many people who have been injured at work and, especially without legal representation, they do not believe it is worth fighting these claim denials. Our Buffalo, New York workers’ compensation lawyer believes you are worth fighting for, however, and we would like to help you when your claim was denied.

What steps can you take when your workers’ compensation claim was denied? 

You may be wondering what the steps are when you want to appeal a denied claim. 

  • Contact a Lawyer. If you weren’t already working with a workers’ compensation lawyer when you originally filed your claim, now is the time to speak with one. Your attorney will remind you that you have every right to appeal this claim and can work with you to make sure your appeal gets in on time and help you gather the necessary evidence.
  • Speak With the Insurance Company. Your attorney will get in contact with the insurance company that denied your claim. While they may state why they denied it in the original letter you receive, your lawyer can press them for more information. For example, if it was a simple filing error or you did not provide substantial information, you may have solid grounds for a successful appeal.
  • File Your Appeal. Once your attorney has gathered other necessary documents and evidence for your claim, they will make the appeal. It is particularly advantageous to have an attorney during this process because they will know the timeline for an appeal and will make sure you have all the necessary forms and documents.
  • Mediation. You and the insurance company can go through a mediation process which is typically very informal. You will both make your arguments and a neutral party will observe and help you try to come to an agreement. If you do, you will both sign the paperwork. If you do not come to an agreement, you can go to a formal hearing with a workers’ compensation judge. At a formal hearing, you and the insurance company will both provide evidence and arguments for your claims.

Buffalo Workers’ Compensation Law Infographic

Steps you take when your workers’ compensation claim is denied Infographic

Can I Get Workers’ Comp for a Previous Injury or Illness?

A common question from clients is when workers comp will offer a settlement. The answer depends on a variety of factors. Injuries and illnesses that are sustained on the job often qualify an employee for workers’ compensation. If that particular employee already had an injury or illness, can he or she receive compensation for the pre-existing condition? 

Pre-Existing Conditions Alone

When you look at a pre-existing condition alone, it does not qualify a worker for workers’ compensation. If the employee gets medical benefits as part of employment, he or she may be able to use that coverage to pay for the costs associated with the pre-existing condition, but filing a workers’ comp claim would not work. 

Pre-Existing Conditions Aggravated by Work

If an employee has a pre-existing condition that is aggravated by the tasks he or she does on the job, compensation might be collected to cover the costs of any additional care. For example, if someone has dealt with back issues for years, and lifting heavy boxes at work made the issue get worse, new medical costs or increased prescriptions could be compensated through workers’ compensation. 

Pre-Existing Conditions Not Related to a New Injury

Another common question is when workers comp will offer a settlement for pre-existing conditions. Sometimes an employee will have a pre-existing condition, sustain a new injury or illness, and try to get his or her pre-existing conditions paid for through the workers’ compensation settlement for the new condition. This isn’t how the system works, and the employee could end up in trouble if this happens. That is why it’s important to talk to a Buffalo, New York workers’ compensation lawyer for your personal situation.

For example, an employee might have suffered a brain injury outside of work. During his or her employment, another injury occurred, such as a broken leg. The employee might claim that the TBI and the broken leg were both a result of the workplace accident. As soon as the insurance company finds out the truth, the claim could be denied altogether. If the employee was to take care of this situation correctly, he or she could still receive compensation for the broken leg. Hurwitz, Witcher & Molloy understand that getting injured can severely impact your work life, which is why our firm works hard to get the compensation you deserve.

Understanding More About Your Situation

Workplace accidents range in severity, but one thing remains the same, and that is that most employees are entitled to workers’ compensation when injured on the job. If you have an injury or illness from a previous incident, you can often still receive compensation to the degree to which the condition is worsened. If the employee sustains a separate injury, that separate injury also often qualifies the individual for compensation. When you’re injured on the job, it may help you to understand your rights by speaking with an attorney. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY today so they can tell you when workers comp will offer a settlement.

Buffalo Workers Compensation Law Statistics

According to the data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Of the 129,000 private industry injury and illness cases reported in New York, 90,100 were of a more severe nature, involving days away from work, job transfer, or restriction—commonly referred to as DART cases.”

Opioid Repackaging

The current opioid addiction and overdose epidemic has been on somewhat of a rollercoaster over the past few years, with some states seeing rises and others seeing declines in fatalities, only to reverse positions at a later date. Unfortunately, the state of New York workers’ compensation is such that it makes it incredibly easy for physicians to over-prescribe opioid pain medication. As a workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY knows, injured workers are being given powerful, addictive pain medication when they do not need it. Or, they are being overprescribed these opioids for long periods of time, eventually leading to addiction and overdose.

Repackaging and Physician Dispensing

As a Buffalo, NY workers’ compensation lawyer can explain, in the state of New York, it is legal for a physician to prescribe and then sell opioid pain medication to patients at a large profit. Research has found that this form of physician dispensing increases the number of drugs prescribed by physicians by more than triple. Repackaging allows these doctors to sell these drugs at 60 to 300 percent more than pharmacies.

Opioid Repackaging is Driving Up the Cost of Insurance, Hurting Employers and Employees

Opioids represent cheap, short-term fixes to what are usually complex, expensive problems. Because a workers’ compensation carrier may not agree to pay for surgery, physical therapy, or other costly fixes, the injured employee may only be left with the option of treating their pain, not the underlying problem. However, this shortsightedness has brought on financial problems to the insurance companies as well.

One study found that workers who receive repackaged opioid medication spend an average of 85 percent longer off work. Similar results have been found across the nation. Workers’ compensation insurance carriers spend an average of $1.4 billion on opioid prescriptions each year, nationally, and studies have shown patients treated with higher doses of opioid pain medication spent three times as long off work than those who were prescribed lower doses for similar injuries. This extra time away from work drives up the costs of insurance premiums, which hurts employees, employers, and the community.

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History of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board

According to  New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, New York has had a no-fault workers’ compensation system for nearly a century. The workers’ compensation system guarantees weekly cash benefits and medical care are paid by the employer’s insurance carrier, as directed by the Workers’ Compensation Board. Employers pay for this insurance, and may not require the employee to contribute to the cost of compensation. 2 horrific events lead to the workers’ compensation system both here in New York and across the country.

  • The tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City
  • Attack on the World Trade Center on September 11

New York State Workers’ Compensation Board District Offices:

Ellicott Square Building
295 Main Street
Suite 400
Buffalo, NY 14203

Tips for Returning to Work After an Injury

If you suffered an injury at work, you may need to take significant time off your job. However, once you’ve healed and feel good again, you may be permitted to return to work. Here are some tips a workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY residents suggests about returning to work after an injury.

  • Get Cleared from Your Doctor First: It’s never a good idea to go back to work before you’re truly ready. Even if you feel fine, you have to get cleared by your doctor first. If you try to go back to work too soon, you could reinjure yourself.
  • Keep the Communication Lines Open With Your Employer: How soon you can return to work will depend on the severity of your injuries. However, no matter what, you should maintain frequent communication with your employer. Whether it’s through email or phone, tell your employer how your recovery is going and when you expect to return to work. If you can’t go back to work as you originally thought, don’t hesitate to tell your employer. If you’re honest and don’t keep your boss in the dark about anything, you can maintain trust.
  • Bring a Copy of Your Restrictions to Work: When your doctor clears you to return to work, he or she may advise you to take certain restrictions at your job. These restrictions are there to protect you, so you should take them seriously. Your workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY may recommend you bring documentation of these restrictions to work every day to prove to your employer that you can’t do certain tasks.
  • Document Discrimination or Retaliation: Unfortunately, some employers become angry when employees file workers’ compensation claims and can’t perform their normal duties immediately. They may even attempt to cut your pay or reduce your hours. These actions are illegal. If your employer does this to you, make sure to document it and report it to your workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY.
  • Think About Switching Positions: If you’re nervous about returning to work because your previous role caused your injury, don’t hesitate to voice your concerns to your employer. He or she may allow you to switch to a different role that doesn’t put you at risk of injuries.
  • Don’t Refuse to Go Back to Work: Just like you shouldn’t return to work too early, you also shouldn’t go back too late. When you’ve taken so much time off, it’s easy to get comfortable and want to milk your workers’ compensation benefits as long as you can. However, if you take off more time than necessary, you’re in danger of losing your benefits. Your employer could also choose to terminate you for refusing to come back to work.

Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP Buffalo Workers Compensation Lawyer

424 Main Street, Suite 1725, Buffalo, NY 14202

Buffalo Workers Compensation Lawyer Google Review

“Excellent attorneys super down to earth and realistic. No one wants to be hurt at work but if it already happened then you’re going to appreciate having people in your corner who understand the laws and your rights and will make it their priority that you are taken care of in a professional and compassionate way. No quick ones, no slick talk, just like calling an old buddy from high school who happens to be a very good lawyer. Everyone at the office is also extremely helpful and always has a positive attitude. I’m telling you, forget the gimmicks and slogans you see on tv and get yourself the real deal. These guys literally helped put my life back together after my employer even tried to pretend I never even worked for him. Words can’t describe my level of admiration for this law firm.” – Raymond T.

Contact Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP Today

If you were seriously injured on the job, you deserve high-quality medical treatment. Opioid pain medication has a time and place, but should not be the only solution to the problem. For experienced legal advice, contact Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY clients recommend. 

We are a team of dedicated legal professionals who understand how a workplace accident may have changed your health and life for the long term. We also know how crucial it is that you get the financial support you need. After assessing your situation, we may even come to find that your employer was negligent which caused the accident to occur. We can talk more about this with you over a consultation.

Please contact Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP today to schedule an appointment with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Buffalo, NY injured residents can rely on during difficult times.

Client Review

“Hurwitz Whitcher & Molloy Attorneys have been my Attorneys for a while now. In that time, each contact with them was handled in a timely, courteous, and professional manner. I highly recommend this firm if you require the type of services they provide. Much appreciation for their hard work and dedication.”
Linda Carlson
Client Review

Client Testimonials

As a disabled claimant, I can’t thank Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy enough for guiding me through these past fourteen years. No one else wanted my Workers’ Compensation case. No one! It was complicated. There were a lot of issues that made things difficult. They stuck with it well over a decade with preparedness, intelligence and grace. Mister Melvyn, he’s a good guy. Cathy, she’s so amazing.

- Salli B.

I became a client of the Hurwitz firm in May of 1997 due to injuries I received while I was a meat cutter at I. Isenberg Meats in Buffalo, New York. Since my first encounter with your firm and up until the present day, I have been entirely satisfied with the way your firm has treated me.

- William C.

Thank you for all you do throughout the year. I know I’m in the hands of the best compensation lawyers who really care!! God bless you all.

- Michelle A.

If you are injured at work and need a workers’ comp attorney, you need Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy. They are the ‘King Pins’ of all comp attorneys. You will be taken care of every step of the way. I am a very satisfied client!

- Richard B.