Contributed by Markhoff & Mittman, PC
Business is booming in the State of New York across all industries. As a result companies are struggling to meet the demands of their patrons. In order to get a requested job done in time, employers are pressuring their employees to work longer hours than ever before. In fact, for the sixth year in a row, the amount of overtime hours worked by New Yorkers has increased.
The Cost Of Overtime
Numerous studies have shown that American workers spend more time on the job than most industrialized countries in the world and usually receive less vacation time and fewer benefits. To make matters worse, studies done on workers who frequently work overtime hours prove that the longer an employee is expected to work, the more likely they are to sustain on the job injuries and illnesses.
The CDC Report
Data released in a report titled “Overtime and Extended Work Shifts” showed that “overtime was associated with poorer perceived general health, increased injury rates, more illnesses, or increased mortality.”
This is likely due to fatigue and exhaustion, resulting in slower motor functions and mental reactions. When a worker doesn’t react quickly enough or isn’t paying attention to what they are doing, accidents happen, causing serious injury to both the employee and those around them.
The most common serious work injuries include:
A broken bone can mean that a worker is unable to return to work for weeks or even months - and that’s if everything goes smoothly. Add in a complication such as an infection or disunion of the bone and it can take more than a year for the bone to heal properly and for the worker to regain normal function.
Many workers in numerous industries work with heavy machinery that could easily remove a body part if an accident happens. The loss of a hand, arm, foot, or leg could end a career.
Both heat and chemical burns require months of treatment and care, usually involving surgery, debridement, and skin grafts.
Traumatic Brain Injury
If the worker falls or is hit in the head with a heavy object, bleeding, bruising, and tissue death in the brain can cause temporary or permanent changes to their memory, fine motor skills, speech, and even behavior.
Damage To The Spine Or Spinal Cord
If an accident breaks the bones in the vertebrae, causes a disc to slip, damages the nerves, or bruises or severs the spinal cord, the patient may end up with lifelong pain, numbness, tingling, or paralysis.
Of course, regardless of what kind of accident took place or the injuries that were sustained, workers have the right to file for workers’ compensation which should help them cover their medical expenses and at least a fraction of their lost wages.
The problem is, this “no-fault” insurance system, which should provide all workers coverage regardless of who was at fault with few exceptions, frequently denies hard working employee’s claims.
Why Would A Claim Be Denied?
Workers’ compensation claims are most commonly denied for several reasons:
- A mistake was made on the claim form.
- The medical records don’t support the claim.
- Too much time has passed since the accident and injury took place.
- The employer is contesting the claim.
When a claim is denied, an appeal can be made, but without the assistance of an experienced attorney, the claim is likely to be denied again.
Why Would An Employer Contest A Claim?
On paper, an employer will claim that the employee either didn’t actually suffer a serious injury, that the injury was not sustained on the job, or that they don’t actually need time away from work. In most cases this happens because of simple bias, where employers suspect that the employee is trying to use the system to get time off or work and money, or they may be trying to prevent their premiums from going up.
Even if the employer does not dispute the case, the insurance company often fights for every nickel and dime and seeks to limit their exposure by denying benefits an injured worker is rightfully entitled to!