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New York Workers' Compensation Blog For Small Business Owners

How should your municipality respond when a worker gets hurt?

There are a variety of reasons that employers, including municipalities, are sued. One of the more common ones why they face legal action is because employers fail to take the necessary steps that they should take when a worker gets hurt on the job. While the exact steps an employer may need to take may vary by jurisdiction, there are some general procedures any business entity must follow no matter where their headquarters is.

One of the most important things that an employer can do when a worker is hurt on the job is to be responsive.

Study shows retail is a high risk for workers' compensation

Small businesses often seem like small boats. They are light protection from the stormy seas of business, and people in them can end up feeling very much alone. But small businesses are never alone. They are part of a big system, and there is often as much help and support as there is competition.

Businesses with a small or medium number of employees may find themselves in a tricky position while trying to support the people who work for them. Costs like workers' compensation insurance and labor regulation compliance can take a heavy toll on small operating budgets.

Is your employee faking an injury?

You certainly want to take your employees at their word, especially when one of them claims to have suffered an injury on the job. You carry the appropriate workers' compensation insurance for just such situations, and you are happy to have that safeguard in place when a worker becomes ill or injured.

As much as you hate to admit it, there is always the chance that one of your employees will fake an injury to fraudulently collect benefits from your workers' compensation insurance. When this happens, everyone suffers. Workers' comp fraud costs you money, time and resources, as well as jeopardizing the morale of your business and damaging the trust between you and your employees.

Workers' compensation benefits rose for much of the last decade

Workers' compensation is a vital guarantee for employees that helps keep workplaces safe. However, the details of the insurance and other requirements to offer the payments if a worker is injured on the job have been the bane of many business owners.

Payouts are on the rise in New York, according to a recent study of workers' compensation claims. Benefits per claim increased between 7 and 9 percent from 2007 to 2014, with a smaller rise before reforms to the relevant laws in 2007.

WCB reveals 2020 assessment rate

The WCB funds its operations by assessing every workers' compensation insurance policy written in New York. The assessment rate for the following year is published annually on November 1. Rate for 2020 will decrease by 0.4% to 12.2%. The same rate will be assessed on the premium equivalent for self-insured employers. The rate has fluctuated since the methodology for calculating the rate was changed by the Business Relief Act - part of the 2013/2014 State budget. Here is the history:
2020 - 12.2%
2019 - 12.6%
2018 - 12.1%
2017 - 12.2%
2016 - 12.9%
2015 - 13.2%
2014 - 13.8%

Optimizing the purpose of administrative work in business

Administrative work in any organization has the propensity to be mundane and if not managed properly, can be a massive waste of critical resources including time and money. Businesses in New York who optimize administrative processes to provide support and meaning to their organization may find that their efforts are more productive and valuable in the long run. 

While administrative tasks may vary depending on the industry a company operates in, the products or services they provide and the level of experience of the people they have hired to perform such duties, most administrative work is similar across the board. Tasks may include facilitating communication between departments, organizing and managing customer information, generating detailed reports for departmental review and coordinating logistical requirements for various meetings. 

Family seeking wrongful death action after worker's death

Any case of a worker dying in an accident on a job site in Troy is tragic, and all involved can understand the pain and grief that such a loss inflicts on the victim's family. Yet does that pain and suffering automatically justify legal action? One might assume that an employer is to blame when an employee dies at work (as it is the employer's responsibility to ensure that their workplaces are safe). The fact that this responsibility does exist, however, does not necessarily absolve an employee of seeing to their own safety, nor does it mean that workplace accidents should be immediately attributed to negligence on the part of the employer. 

The family of a man killed in a construction site accident in Texas is currently trying to make the argument that it was indeed due to negligence that he died. The man was killed when a loader backed over him. The construction company that employed him and ran the job site has stated that the family's claim needs to be handled by workers' compensation. They, however, have chosen to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company, claiming that the worker's death was due to their failure to provide a safe environment for their employees to work in. 

Court rejects NYPD officer's workers' compensation appeal

Many in Troy might assume that employers approve any and all workers’ compensation claims in an effort to remain in their employees’ good graces. Yet what is overlooked in this assumption is the fact that companies pay for their workers’ compensation coverage, and an abundance of claims can impact the rates they pay. Thus, it is in their best interest to encourage the investigation of claims to ensure that the cause of their employees’ injuries are indeed work-related.

If it is determined that they are not, then benefit providers may feel justified in denying claims. Claimants can object to this, but if the denial is legitimate, such objections are likely to be struck down in court. That is exactly what happened in the case of a New York City police officer. The woman’s job as an evidence control specialist required that she store and retrieve items submitted as evidence. She eventually began to develop pain in her arm, elbow and wrist and claimed that this was due to the repetitive motion and heavy lifting that her job required her to do. However, her subsequent workers’ compensation claim was denied.

The 'going and coming' rule may disqualify a worker's claim

As a small business owner, you may have a closer relationship with your employees than someone who runs a large corporation. This is because your employees are a critical part of the success of your business, which is ultimately your personal success. If one of your employees becomes ill or injured, you may feel almost as much concern as you would for your own family. If that injury takes place on the job, you have many more concerns to deal with.

Understanding how your workers' compensation insurance works is vital to keeping your employees safe and healthy as well as keeping your business financially sound. New York's workers' compensation laws require coverage for a generous number of injuries and conditions related to work activities. However, are you responsible if your employee has an accident on the way to or from work?

How do you form a corporation in New York?

Your ultimate goal in forming a small business in Troy may be to grow it into an enterprise that employs many people and eventually is open to ownership acquisition through public markets. Yet first things first; you and your business partners need to follow the appropriate process when filing articles of incorporation with the state. This is something that you can choose to do on your own, yet given the importance of this action in the legal establishment of your corporation (and the complexities involved in the process), it may be to your advantage to seek assistance from the appropriate legal professionals.  

According to the Division of Corporations, State Records and UCC of the New York Department of State, you and your fellow incorporators must file a Certificate of Incorporation with that very department. If you and your partners are planning to provide professional services that you are legally authorized to render (such as legal services or medical care), then your corporation must be formed as a professional corporation. Whatever entity you choose to file as, your Certificate must be signed by each individual incorporator. 

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