Atticus offers free, high-quality workers' compensation advice to those injured at work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and help thousands of Americans get the benefits they deserve each year.
When you get sick or injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits until you can return to work. However, it isn’t always clear what steps you should take to start the process.
Whether you plan to file a claim or already started the process, this guide will explain everything you need to know about how workers’ comp works in New York. We’ll explain who qualifies, how the application process should go, which benefits you’re entitled to, and other special considerations.
You may qualify for workers’ comp if you get injured or sick on the job and you work for a New York employer who withholds taxes from your paychecks. You don’t have to be a state resident to get benefits.
Employees at for-profit businesses qualify, including part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers. Volunteers and family members involved in these businesses can also get workers' comp even though they don’t get paid.
Most non-profit employees are eligible for workers' comp unless they perform certain educational or religious duties. People who volunteer for non-profits and don’t get paid don’t qualify for benefits from their non-profits, though, except for volunteer firefighters and first responders.
Independent contractors do not qualify for workers' comp through their employer. However, New York State has strict laws for who qualifies as a contractor versus an employee. Make sure to check New York’s guide to identifying independent contractors, which includes special criteria for construction, transportation, and other industries.
You can qualify for workers' compensation if you have an injury or illness that happens while you’re performing work for your employer. However, you can only qualify for payments if your injury keeps you out of work for at least seven days.
Types of injuries that may qualify you for workers’ comp benefits include
If you aren’t sure whether your condition qualifies for workers' comp, take our two-minute workers’ comp quiz. We’ll get in touch with more information if your situation sounds like it qualifies for New York benefits.
To file for workers’ comp in New York, notify your employer in writing about your injury as soon as possible and file Form C-3 with the Workers' Compensation Board, the state’s workers' comp department.
The Board recommends notifying your employer within 30 days. It might still be possible to get benefits if you wait more than 30 days, but you do need to file Form C-3 within two years of your injury or illness to qualify.
You can choose from three ways to file your Form C-3:
The workers' comp process in New York generally follows these steps:
Below we break down each step in more detail.
Whether you need emergency care or not, you have the right to receive medical treatment for your injury. Make sure to tell the doctor that your injury is related to work and give them your employer’s contact information.
Let your employer know about your condition in a written document that you can print or save, such as an email or physical letter. Always keep that notice for your records in case you have to deal with a dispute.
You should ideally notify your employer within 30 days. Then they must notify their insurance company within 10 days.
File Form C-3 with the Workers' Compensation Board as soon as possible. You must file within two years of the injury date. Within 14 days of receiving notice from your employer, your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company will contact you to tell you if your claim is approved.
If the insurance company wants to challenge your claim, they must notify you within 18 days of your injury or within 10 days of when they received notification from your employer, whichever date is later. The next step would be to attend a hearing. The state board will contact you with more information on your hearing. You’re entitled to work with a workers’ comp lawyer for your hearing.
If your injury or illness keeps you out of work for at least seven days, you’re entitled to workers’ comp payments worth a portion of your lost wages. Payments come from your employer’s insurer and they must generally start payments within 18 days of learning about your injury. You’ll continue to get payments every two weeks.
If you feel that you’re eligible for higher benefits than the Board approved for you, you can appeal the decision. You may benefit from hiring a lawyer to help you.
If your injury requires follow-up appointments or continuing care, you must get all workers' comp-related treatment from a healthcare provider certified by the Workers' Compensation Board. The doctor should create a care plan to help you recover and return to work if possible.
Your employer or their insurance company should be able to help you find doctors. Some workers also qualify for travel expense reimbursement while getting treatment.
Once you have recovered as much as you can from your injury or illness, you’ve reached a level called maximum medical improvement (MMI). Your workers’ comp doctor will do an evaluation to determine whether you’ve returned to your pre-injury health levels or still have some level of impairment. If the doctor reports that you still have some level of disability, you can qualify for further benefits.
If you disagree with your doctor’s care plan or diagnosis at any point, you should consider talking with a workers’ comp lawyer. They can guide you on how to get a more accurate plan for treatment. Learn more about situations when you should consider a workers’ comp lawyer.
If you recover enough to go back to work in the same capacity as before, your workers’ comp benefits will end. You can qualify for ongoing benefits if your condition impacts your ability to return to work.
New York provides two kinds of workers’ compensation: temporary disability and permanent disability.
These benefits vary based on the degree to which you can work, putting workers’ comp into four total categories:
New York workers' comp provides payments to cover lost wages, worth two-thirds of your pay up to a maximum of $1,125.46 for injuries that happened after July 1, 2022.
More specifically, lost wage benefits are worth up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW) and could differ based on your degree of your disability:
⅔ of AWW x % degree of disability = weekly payment
Related: How much are maximum workers' comp payments in New York?
To calculate your benefit amount, your employer will provide the state workers’ compensation board with information on your wages for one year before your accident. The state will use that information to calculate your AWW.
Your workers' comp doctor or an insurance medical examiner will perform an evaluation to determine your degree of disability, which is given as a percentage. For example, if you injure your arm with the degree of disability set at 70%, it means the current functionality of your arm is at 70% of what it was before your injury.
You may receive supplemental payments for certain types of permanent disability. As an example, you could qualify for an additional $20,000 payment if you became permanently disfigured from your condition.
On top of your wage and disability payments, workers' comp will cover medical expenses related to your illness or injury.
You will receive your first lost wage payment within 18 days of your illness or injury or 10 days from when your employer’s insurer receives notification, whichever date is later. From there, payments are sent every two weeks.
Since you need to wait almost two weeks from reporting your injury until payments start, it’s important to report your injury and start the process as soon as possible.
If your employer doesn’t notify their insurer quickly, you have two options for taking action:
At that point, if you can’t get in touch with either your employer’s insurance or the Board, contact a workers' comp lawyer to find the right channels. (Atticus can help connect you with an experienced workers’ comp. Fill out our questionnaire to get started.)
In addition to lost wage and medical coverage, New York workers’ compensation includes the following benefits:
No, New York workers' comp benefits aren’t taxable and you won’t have to pay any of them back when tax season comes around.
You can receive payments until you reach your maximum level of recovery, as determined by your doctor. Then if your doctor believes you’re still not at 100% of your pre-injury capacity for work, you can continue receiving workers’ comp payments (permanent disability payments). How long you receive these additional payments will depend on which part of your body was injured and the severity of your injury.
New York law generally categorizes injuries into two types: schedule and non-schedule. Scheduled benefits are for injuries to limbs, hands, feet, your vision, or your hearing. Non-scheduled benefits are for injuries to more central body parts, like your brain, heart, lungs, spine, or pelvis.
The table below shows the maximum limit for New York workers’ comp payments if you have a schedule injury, depending on which body part was injured:
Body part injured
Max payment length
312 weeks (6 years)
288 weeks (5.5 years)
244 weeks (4.7 years)
205 weeks (3.9 years)
160 weeks (3 years)
75 weeks (1.4 years)
Below are the time limits for New York workers’ comp payments if you have a non-schedule injury:
People who receive total permanent disability benefits have no time limit on the payments they receive. And if you receive permanent benefits, you may also qualify for Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI).
It may be possible to work while getting workers’ comp, but you could lose benefits if you perform duties beyond the capacity you or your doctor have claimed. This applies whether you’re returning to your job or working a second job.
The safest option is to follow your doctor’s advice on what kind of work you can do. If the doctor says you can’t do your job because of your injury but you return to your job anyway, the insurance company or state board may dispute your claim and you could lose benefits.
You may be able to go back to your job if your employer offers you a different position or modified duties. But again, stay within the limits of what your doctor says you can do. For example, if your doctor judges that you can’t lift more than 10 pounds, but you start a job that requires you to lift 15 pounds, you could lose benefits.
If you need more money or want to work, one good option is to talk with a workers' comp lawyer before taking any jobs. They’ll help you understand what jobs you can do without risking your benefits.
Workers' comp in New York City follows the same rules as the rest of New York state. If you live or work in the city and you’re trying to get workers' comp, you can work with a lawyer from any part of New York state.
Our guide to finding a lawyer will help you find a good fit.
You don’t need a workers' comp lawyer to get benefits in New York. There are some situations when you should consider a lawyer, though. Studies have also shown that workers' comp settlements involving a lawyer are five times larger than for people who don’t hire one.
Here are some common situations when you should hiring a workers' comp lawyer:
Workers’ comp law is complex. If you get confused about the workers' comp process or you feel you aren’t getting the support you deserve, contact a lawyer. Even if you aren’t sure you need one, a free consultation will help you figure out what they could do for you.
If you’re interested in talking with a lawyer to help you receive all of the workers' comp benefits that you’re entitled to, Atticus can help. Our team of experts will connect you with a New York workers' comp lawyer to support you every step of the way.
Get in touch today and someone on our team will follow up with more information.
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