New York: State workers' comp laws are inadequate, says trial lawyer cochairman
David Perecman, a workers' comp attorney and cochairman of the association's labor law committee, said the New York State Employment, Safety and Security Act of 1996 was supposed to provide for balanced, comprehensive reform of the state's antiquated system. However, Perecman said the act itself is a tangled web of rules and regulations that, by the state's own admission, often requires the aid of a workers' comp attorney to help guide an applicant through a maze of complex laws and policies.
Perecman said that workers' comp in the state is also difficult to manage because certain City of New York workers -- such as firefighters, sanitation workers, teachers and police officers -- are covered by union carve-out programs.
"For an injured worker trying to figure out how the system works, it can appear as if there are at least two sets of rules -- one for certain New York City employees, and another for other workers, such as Transit Authority employees, for example," he said.
Perecman said that for some workers who are not employees of the City of New York, the laws for workers' comp and how they affect a person's right to bring a lawsuit against certain parties will create different results.
Since the Transit Authority provides coverage to its employees, Perecman said one of its employees -- and by extension the worker's family members -- is only entitled to file a claim for workers' comp or for workers' comp death benefits. The injured worker, he said, cannot bring a lawsuit against the authority in civil court, nor can the worker sue a coworker for an on-the-job injury, even if the Transit Authority or the coworker was at fault.
April 30, 2009
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