New York enacted its workers’ compensation statute to address the inequities historically existing among employers and employees with regard to workplace injuries. The New York statute operates on the premise of a tradeoff. Employers assume all liability for injuries arising out of and in the course of employment, regardless of fault. Workers receive limited wage replacement benefits for their loss of earning capacity and are entitled to have all related and necessary medical costs paid. In exchange, employees are prohibited from bringing a lawsuit for personal injuries against their employer.
The City of New York is a self-insurer of its workers’ compensation obligations pertaining to all covered City employees. City employees are covered for workers’ compensation (with the exception of uniformed police officers, firefighters and uniformed sanitation workers). Also covered are all non-pedagogical employees of the Department of Education and all employees of the Health and Hospitals Corporation and the City University. The Workers’ Compensation Division administers the claims of all covered employees who are injured on the job or incur an occupational disease. The Division strives to provide employees with all medical and wage replacement benefits to which they are entitled, while objecting to and litigating any unwarranted claims.
The Division receives approximately 17,500 new claims annually, over 16,000 proposed scheduling orders, and in excess of 350,000 medical bills. The Division appears at over 15,000 hearings and handles over 3,000 depositions in lieu of trial testimony annually. The Division also obtains revenue recoveries from various sources, including State funds, lien satisfaction, and insurance arbitration.
What New Attorneys Do
The Division represents City agencies in administrative hearings before the State Workers’ Compensation Board. Division attorneys assume substantial responsibility from the day they are employed. Division attorneys have the opportunity to perfect their trial skills and learn about a wide variety of medical issues. They acquire a broad range of litigation skills and obtain excellent experience by regularly cross-examining medical expert and fact witnesses. The Division’s trials involve nearly every conceivable medical condition, including work-related psychiatric diagnoses, respiratory ailments, heart conditions, and orthopedic conditions. Division attorneys also handle their own appeals and rebuttals to the Workers’ Compensation Board and the Appellate Division.
What Summer Interns Do
In the Workers' Compensation Division, interns will participate in all aspects of workers' compensation cases from inception to resolution. Interns will research alleged injuries and help construct the initial theory of the case. They will prepare witnesses for trial and accompany attorneys to the Workers' Compensation Board to hear testimony. They will also prepare memoranda of law to be submitted to the Board. Some interns will have the opportunity to attend arbitration hearings, negotiate settlements with opposing counsel, and conduct depositions under supervision.Read the Law Department's Annual Reports for More Information about the Workers Compensation Division