New York's workers' compensation program is designed to provide financial assistance to workers who have been injured on the job, so that they can pay for medical care and to help them cope with the loss of income during their recovery. Ideally, an injured worker should file a claim and the employer's insurance provider will then provide the worker with benefits. Unfortunately, the process of filing a claim and receiving the benefits is often difficult. One issue that may come up is a question of the work status of the injured worker. What workers are covered by workers' compensation?
Nearly all employers in New York are required by law to provide their employees with workers' compensation coverage. This includes government employees, employees of for-profit organizations and employees of not-for-profit organizations. In many cases, independent contractors may be considered employees for the purposes of workers' compensation coverage.
If there is a question of the worker's employment status, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board makes the determination. The board finds that anyone it determines to be an employee who is not specifically excluded by law is eligible for coverage.
To determine whether someone is an employee, the board looks at several factors, including: the degree of direction and control the employer exercises over the worker; whether the work involved is the same general type of work in which the employer is engaged; the method of payment; whether the employer furnishes the materials used by the worker in the course of the work; and whether the employer has the right to hire and fire the individuals doing the work.
A workers' compensation attorney can help injured workers at many points in the process, from initial claims to hearings and appeals. It is important for injured workers and their families to speak to a lawyer to make sure they can receive the benefits they need.