Injured workers deserve to be fairly compensated

Imagine being a hard-working New Yorker with a family of four and a job that just barely supports them. Now, imagine you are hurt at work and forced to survive without any income while your company’s insurance carrier tries to determine if you were really “hurt at work.” The insurance carrier makes you go to endless doctor appointments and forces to you to travel to a hearing, sometimes over 50 miles away from your home. All the while, your bills pile up and the creditors start calling.

This is a reality that many workers face as insurance carriers litigate workers’ compensation claims. This system, set up as a way to protect and assist injured workers, is now filled with unnecessary roadblocks and barriers.

Recently, the Workers’ Compensation Board closed eight hearing locations statewide, forcing many injured workers to drive many miles to attend a required hearing on their compensation case, with no expectation of compensation for their travel. Furthermore, some hearing locations lack handicap accessibility.

What was once hailed as an efficient system to protect injured workers’ rights and provide accessibility to resolve issues now forces injured workers to jump over hurdles just to be compensated for their loss. This is a system we must all work to fix.

Edward A. Sundquist