FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the first step in filing a NYS workers' compensation claim?

The first step is to get appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible. A physician must complete a medical evaluation within 48 hours of an accident and submit the evaluation to a NYS Workers' Compensation Board district office as part of the employee's claim.

Injured workers must also inform their employer, in writing, of an accident within 30 days. The next step is to file an Employee Claim Form (C-3) with the Workers' Compensation Board. Injured or sick workers have up to two years from the date of an injury-causing accident (or incident that resulted in disease) to file a claim with the Workers' Compensation Board. Even though people have two years to file a workers' comp claim, we encourage people to file as soon as possible.

An employer has 10 days after learning of an accident to prepare an Employer's Report on Work-Related Injury/Illness (C-2). This is submitted to the Workers' Compensation Board and the employer's insurance company. If a worker misses more than seven days of work because of a workplace accident, the insurance company has 18 days from the time it receives the C-2 to begin making payments to the employee.

What does it cost me to hire Gallagher Baker, P.C. as my workers' compensation lawyer?

Under the New York State Workers' Compensation Law, an injured worker is not permitted to pay an attorney directly for legal representation of them before the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. An attorney fee is only awarded by the Workers' Compensation Board when we win your case. The attorney fee is paid directly to the firm by the employer or their insurer. If you are not entitled to any money, there is no attorney fee awarded.

I'm currently represented by a different law firm, but I would like you to represent me. What do I do?

After meeting with you to confirm how we can help you, we will take care of notifying the other firm of our representation of you.

Can I receive both NYS workers' compensation and Social Security disability benefits?

As experienced workers' compensation attorneys, our job goes beyond helping our New York State clients apply for workers' compensation benefits. Our job is to identify every type of benefit someone injured on the job might be entitled to, and to help them obtain those benefits for themselves and their families.

Unfortunately, too often, people think that the only claim they have is a workers' comp claim. However, in certain cases, a person may have other claims in addition to their NYS workers' compensation claim. As experienced attorneys, we have the knowledge and experience to identify such claims so that you know exactly what you are entitled to.

Our clients - who worked hard at their jobs, day in and day out - shouldn't have to struggle financially following a workplace accident. Many people who experience a long-term partial or total disability and receive workers' compensation benefits are also eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Our firm handles SSDI claims as well as workers' compensation, and can determine whether you are eligible for these and possibly other benefits.

What are the criteria for SSDI and SSI benefits?

While both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) are administered by the Social Security Administration, they are different benefits that have separate requirements.

SSDI benefits are based on an individual's qualifying work history, which means there is no set amount or duration of benefits that all qualified people will receive. The SSA will only pay SSDI benefits to individuals who cannot work for at least five full months because of a disability or other condition. Most people can begin receiving SSDI benefits after six months of a qualifying disability.

SSDI is considered an "insurance" program because you, other workers, and employers contribute to the program through Social Security taxes. In some cases, you may be able to obtain SSDI benefits for a disabled spouse or child.

SSI benefits are available to eligible adults and children with disabilities and limited income, as well as people 65 and older with limited income. The SSA evaluates applications to see whether people meet the requirements for maximum income and other resources. People who qualify can receive a set amount of benefits, which for 2014 is $721 monthly for an eligible individual and $1,082 for an eligible couple. New York State supplements this federal payment and depends on many factors including whether the person lives in a medical facility. The total amount may be reduced if the person has other sources of income.

Am I disabled under the Social Security's rules?

Under the Social Security Act, "disability" means "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." In order to qualify for either SSDI or SSI, your condition does not need to be a permanent one, but you should only file if you expect to be unable to work for at least a year.

The Social Security Administration gathers your medical records and carefully considers all of your health problems, as well as your age, education, and work experience. In general, Social Security is supposed to decide whether you are able to do your past work, and if not, they'll consider whether there is any other work which you can do considering your physical and mental disabilities.

Does your office assist in appealing Social Security denials?

If having a qualified attorney to help you with your initial SSDI or SSD claim is important, then having one to help a claim denial is absolutely essential.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is known for rejecting applications the first time around. In fact, fewer than one-third of all SSDI claims are approved after the initial application. Sometimes, the SSA rejects a claim because of a technicality, like when someone trying to file a claim themselves forgets to include important information. Other times, it questions the actual illness or disability of the applicant.

Our firm handles SSI and SSDI appeals for people throughout New York State, which can last several months. For individuals and families dealing with illness and injury, this can make the claims process even more overwhelming.

Gallagher Baker, P.C. represents applicants through every stage of the SSD and SSI appeals process. This includes:

  • Reconsideration of a claim
  • Hearing with an administrative law judge
  • Appeal to the Appeals Council
A hearing before an Administrative Law Judge is a formal legal proceeding and is the most important step in the entire process. This means that you need a lawyer who can prepare you to tell your story, answer your questions, and make the overall process less intimidating. We have done this successfully with many clients throughout New York State.

Should I fight my DWI charge in NYS?

There are severe consequences for any type of DWI conviction. For instance, you might not be able to get a job due to your record or might not be able to travel. So, to avoid these consequences, it is absolutely worth fighting. Although there are no guarantees as to the outcome, you need to put yourself in the best position to fight the severe consequences of a DWI conviction by consulting with our office.