New Deadline For September 11th Claims

As we approach another anniversary of September 11, we will mark the day with a true feeling of sadness and tremendous loss, as that was a day that changed us all forever. Some of us lost loved ones, some sacrificed their health, and all of us lost our sense of security. Once again we will see the news coverage of those who perished on that fateful day and see the grim procession of officials, family, and friends of those who were lost as they make their way down to Ground Zero.

We will hear the heartbreaking countdown of the more than 2,000 names of those who died read aloud by their loved ones. We will cry with them as we watch their struggles with grief, and we will recall exactly where we were and what we were doing on that dreadful day. We will have trouble remembering what our lives were like before the Twin Towers fell, when the fear of flying was the fear of a plane malfunction or pilot error.  

We will have trouble remembering what it was like not removing our shoes at the airport or of restrictions on liquids in our carry-on luggage. Now, almost 13 years later, there still are thousands who have been affected by the aftermath of that horrific day. For those who sacrificed their health for the rescue, recovery and clean up of the World Trade Center for the first year through September 12, 2002, first and foremost I want to continue to extend my gratitude for what you did for our city and our country. Your service will not, and should not, ever be forgotten.

But, I also want to encourage you to preserve your right to Workers’ Compensation. If you are an employee or member of an entity that participates in the New York State Workers’ Compensation system, you should file a WTC-12 form whether or not you were injured, and whether you were a worker or volunteer. This applies to those who worked directly at Ground Zero, or at the Fresh Kills Landfill, on the barges and piers, and at the morgues. Unfortunately, there are slow-starting diseases and cancers that have been known to occur as a result of exposure to the toxins and carcinogens in the rubble and in the air.  

As a practitioner in Workers’ Compensation, my office continues to handle new claims regularly for serious medical conditions as a result of harmful exposures. Even if you have no symptoms currently, you still should preserve your future rights. The deadline to file this WTC-12 form is fast approaching – September 11, 2014. While New York State has previously extended the deadline, there is no guarantee that this will happen once again.

Please visit the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board website at www.wcb.ny.gov/WTC12, where you will find a link for the registration form. This form can be filled out on line, but then must be printed out, notarized, and received by the Board by September 11, 2014.  The Workers’ Compensation Board has set up a special hot line for any questions you might have regarding these issues. You can call tollfree, 1-855-WTC-2014. 

You have a right to protect your future as well as the future of your loved ones. If this doesn’t apply to you, I would ask that you please share this information with all those who might qualify so that no one is left worrying about their future.

 

 

Catherine M. Stanton is a senior partner in the law firm of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP. She focuses on the area of Workers’ Compensation, having helped thousands of injured workers navigate a highly complex system and obtain all the benefits to which they were entitled. Ms. Stanton has been honored as a New York Super Lawyer, is the past president of the New York Workers’ Compensation Bar Association, the immediate past president of the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group, and is an officer in several organizations dedicated to injured workers and their families. She can be reached at 800.692.3717.

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WTC Workers & Volunteers MUST File By Sept. 11, 2014 To Open A New Claim

The World Trade Center Registry, which preserves workers’ compensation rights for those who performed rescue, recovery, and clean-up operations after the World Trade Center attacks will remain open until September 11, 2014.

On November 13, 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed significant protections for World Trade Center workers into the Workers’ Compensation Law under Article 8-A. The legislation extends and enhances workers’ compensation eligibility and benefits for World Trade Center workers. Most notably, the legislation reopens the World Trade Center Registry; extends the deadline period for filing Form WTC-12, Registration of Participation in World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery and/or Clean-up Operations, with a deadline to September 11, 2014; reopens previously time-barred World Trade Center claims and considers them timely; and adds qualifying conditions to the law.

You should file a WTC-12 form whether you were injured or not, and whether you were employed or volunteered. This includes duty at Ground Zero, Fresh Kills Landfill, the barges, the piers, and the morgues.  The legislation also expanded the conditions covered to include:

  • Diseases of the upper respiratory tract and mucosae, including conditions such as conjunctivitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, vocal cord disease, upper airway hyper-reactivity, and tracheo-bronchitis, or a combination;
  • Diseases of the lower respiratory tract, including but not limited to, bronchitis, asthma, reactive airway dysfunction syndrome, and different types of pneumonitis, such as hypersensitivity, granulomatous, or eosinophilic;
  • Diseases of the gastroesophageal tract, including esophagitis and reflux disease, either acute or chronic, caused by exposure or aggravated by exposure;
  • any combination of such conditions; and
  • New onset diseases that develop in the future or result from exposure in the future, including cancer, COPD, asbestos-related diseases, heavy metal poisoning, musculoskeletal disease and chronic psychological disease.

The link to the form is: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/forms/wtc-12.pdf

Any worker or volunteer with a WTC claim should contact us immediately to review the case and file appropriate paperwork BEFORE September 11, 2014 or you claim may be dismissed as untimely. 

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Medicaid Home Care Cuts Are Unjust, Lawsuit Says

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.nytimes.com

A federal class action lawsuit filed late Tuesday accuses New York State health officials of denying or slashing Medicaid home care services to chronically ill and disabled people without proper notice, the chance to appeal or even an explanation, protections required by law.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, names three plaintiffs: an impaired 84-year-old woman living alone in Manhattan, a frail 18-year-old Brooklyn man with severe congenital disabilities, and a 65-year-old Manhattan man with diabetes and a schizoaffective disorder. But it was brought by the New York Legal Assistance Group on behalf of tens of thousands of disabled Medicaid beneficiaries who need home health care or help with daily tasks like bathing and eating.

It represents a challenge to an ambitious Medicaid overhaul by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that shifted $6 billion in public spending on long-term services, including home care, to private managed care companies that are paid a fixed sum for each enrollee. The goal of the overhaul, which was set in motion in 2011, was saving money and improving the coordination of care. But advocates for aged and disabled people have complained that in the scramble for the most lucrative enrollees, companies are shunning frail people with the greatest needs and signing up those who could be given minimal services.

The lawsuit, filed against the state commissioners of the Department of Health and the Office of…

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Best Ways To Protect Yourself From Common Workplace Injuries

Last week marked the 25th anniversary of Workers’ Memorial Day – a day set aside to remember those who were injured or died on the job. President Barack Obama issued a proclamation in which he noted “we must never accept that injury, illness, or death is the cost of doing business.”  While we have come a long way from the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in which 146 workers were killed while trapped inside a garment factory due to locked doors and a collapsed fire escape, it is clear that we haven’t come far enough.

Recently, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) issued a report on Workplace Safety in the Construction Industry. The report was frightening. Just last year alone, 23 construction workers were killed while performing their jobs. According to the NYCOSH report, many of these construction deaths could have been prevented had proper safety precautions been taken. The report noted that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), established by the U.S. Congress to enforce safety practices, is understaffed, thereby leaving many worksites uninspected. Also, penalties for infractions are far too low to deter some employers from not implementing proper safety precautions. 

Many of us in the workforce thankfully are not engaged in hazardous employment, but there are dangers often not anticipated. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, overexertion due to lifting or bending the body was the leading cause of workplace injury in New York. These types of injuries are seen in health care, food services, educational services, retail, professional and business services. In short, most work-related injuries are not confined to the construction industry but rather are occurring in every industry.  

What should you do to protect yourself from many of the common injuries? First and foremost, know exactly what your job duties entail. Find out how to properly perform your job before you engage in your work.

  • Make sure your workspace is maintained in a neat and orderly way so that you don’t trip on wires or boxes, or slip on papers, or food or oil in the food service industry.
  • If your office has a break room or kitchen, make sure spills are cleaned up immediately.
  • Office supplies should be stored properly so they don’t fall on you or your coworkers.
  • Know the proper way to lift heavy items to protect your back
  • Make sure your computer workstation allows you to maintain adequate posture so you don’t put undue strain on your arms, hands and back
  • Have an ergonomic keyboard that can help reduce injuries to your wrists
  • If you are not trained as a technician, do not try to fix equipment; bring in a repairman
  • Make sure you are instructed on what to do in case of a fire; know where the exits are and make sure your company engages in fire drills

If all else fails and an accident does occur, know the proper procedure for reporting an injury.   Workplace safety is crucial. It will save employers money as injuries result in loss of manpower and higher insurance rates, but most importantly, workplace safety will save lives.

 

Catherine M. Stanton is a senior partner in the law firm of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP. She focuses on the area of Workers’ Compensation, having helped thousands of injured workers navigate a highly complex system and obtain all the benefits to which they were entitled. Ms. Stanton has been honored as a New York Super Lawyer, is the past president of the New York Workers’ Compensation Bar Association, the immediate past president of the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group, and is an officer in several organizations dedicated to injured workers and their families. She can be reached at 800.692.3717. 

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Top 10 Careers For College Grads To Consider

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from storify.com

Top 10 Careers For College Grads To Consider

As recent grads are hitting the job market, many are asking, "What career paths are offering the best opportunities for me right now?" All of these careers were selected based off of our Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data on median annual salary, current employment, projected growth through 2020.

byU.S. Department of Labor@usdol

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Can Social Media Participation Impact Your Benefits?

Many of us are enamored with social media. It is a wonderful way to communicate with those across the country, around the world or right around your block. It is a way to keep with touch with friends, acquaintances and even professional colleagues. However, in our world of ever increasing technology, there are ever increasing risks. We have seen time and time again on the nightly news reports stories of cyber crime, internet scams, child predators and the embarrassing things people post on the world-wide web. We often try to impart this knowledge to our children as their youthful indiscretions can come aback to haunt them as they start applying for jobs as employers regularly now google potential candidates. Websites such as MySpace, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, while entertaining and useful, can also put injured workers at risk. It is easy to forget that a photo posted on social media can come up on many internet searches. It is easy to forget that the internet is not part of the private sphere but is the public square. It is also easy to forget that anyone can create a profile and seek to join anyone else’s network of “friends” on one of these sites.  That includes investigators who work for insurance companies and defendants attorneys.

By applying for benefits, you are stating that you are injured and are unable to work or only able to perform part-time or intermittent work. Information available on the internet that appears to contradict your application for benefits can result in your being denied benefits or even result in a fraud charge being leveled against you. This could be information about your professional or personal accomplishments, a home-based business, or even volunteer activities, which may be no longer current or may not accurately reflect your level of functioning since your injury. Those pictures of you on vacation in Jamaica doing the limbo might be entertaining but they could also put you at great risk if you are indicating a disability. These types of stories appear regularly in the news media. Furthermore, and even more importantly, recent court decisions around the nation and even in New York have ruled that plaintiffs may have to permit defendants access to their social networking sites and even their hard drives for analysis.

Therefore it is imperative that if you are applying for benefits based upon a disability be it workers’ compensation, social security disability or even for negligence to be cautious when posting anything about yourself on the internet.  This includes photographs, statements, travel plans, and commentary about your own social activities.  Furthermore, we cannot stress enough to take care when accepting new persons into your internet social networks.  Make sure you actually know who you are opening up yourself to, for they may not be the person you think they are, and could be in the employ of an insurance carrier.

Finally, it is extremely important that all persons using social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace make sure that the privacy settings for their profiles are set to the maximum. On Facebook this should prevent a person’s profile from being found even if their name is searched. The bottom line is if you are disabled, you should never engage in any activity contrary to your injury as one funny moment in time on social media can impact you for your entire life. 

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OFCCP Opening Doors General Audience Short

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from www.dol.gov

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Congratulations To Partners Matthew Funk And Cathy Stanton On Roles With NYSTLA For 2014

Partners Victor Pasternack, Catherine Stanton, and Matthew Funk, and Senior Associate Kelly Koster at the 2014 NYSTLA Induction ceremony.

On June 24 at Oheka Castle on Long Island, Partner Matthew A. Funk was elected Deputy Treasurer of the New York State Trial Lawyers Assocation. Mr. Funk has been practicing law since 1999 and became a partner at the firm in 2007. He is a member of the Injured Workers Bar Association, participating in online round table discussions regarding the rights of injured workers. He is a Workers Compensation Committee member of the New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH). Mr. Funk regularly lectures on the workers compensation law to various labor organizations. Currently, he is actively engaged in extensive workers compensation litigation.

We also congratulate Senior Partner Catherine Stanton who was installed as a member of the Board of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Ms. Stanton began working with the firm as an attorney in 1990 and became a partner in 1998.  Ms. Stanton is immediate past president of WILG, Workers’ Injury & Law Advocacy Group. WILG is the national non-profit membership organization dedicated to representing the interests of millions of workers and their families who, each year, suffer the consequences of workplace injuries and illnesses. Catherine is a member of both the New York State Bar Association and New York State Trial Lawyers of America.  Ms. Stanton has once again been named as a Super Lawyer for 2014 in the area of workers compensation by Super Lawyers magazine. In addition, Super Lawyers named Ms. Stanton one of the Top Women Attorneys in New York.

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