Category Archives: Workplace Injury

National Safety Council Highlights Rising Workplace Hazards

Industrial worker wearing a hard hat, safety glasses, and protective clothing in a factory setting, emphasizing the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) and workplace safety.

The National Safety Council (NSC) recently released a report that sheds light on the increasing hazards workers face in various industries, including those in New York. As workplace safety becomes a growing concern, it’s essential for workers to understand these hazards and their legal rights after suffering a work-related injury or illness.

If you’re injured on the job in New York, a workers’ compensation lawyer from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP can help ensure you receive the benefits you’re entitled to under New York law.

Work accident statistics

The NSC report highlights several troubling trends in workplace safety. For instance, in 2022, workplace fatalities in the U.S. reached alarming levels, with over 5,000 workers losing their lives due to on-the-job accidents.

Specifically, in New York City, there were 83 fatal work injuries reported in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, non-fatal injuries and illnesses have continued to rise, leading to significant economic and personal impacts on workers and their families.

In New York City alone, thousands of workers suffer from non-fatal injuries annually, which can result in long-term health issues, loss of income, and high medical expenses.

Common workplace hazards

Several common hazards contribute to the rising rates of workplace injuries and fatalities, including:

  • Slip and fall accidents: These accidents are among the most frequent causes of workplace injuries, often resulting from wet or uneven surfaces, poor lighting, and inadequate safety measures.
  • Machinery and equipment hazards: Workers in manufacturing and construction are particularly at risk from machinery and equipment. Improper maintenance, lack of training, and malfunctioning equipment can lead to severe and sometimes fatal injuries.
  • Hazardous substances: Exposure to toxic chemicals and materials can cause long-term health issues, including respiratory problems, skin conditions, and cancer.
  • Ergonomic hazards: Poor workstation design, repetitive motions, and improper lifting techniques contribute to musculoskeletal disorders, which are a leading cause of workplace injuries.
  • Workplace violence: Unfortunately, incidents of workplace violence, including assaults by coworkers or customers, are on the rise and pose a significant risk to employee safety.

The role of technology in enhancing workplace safety

The NSC report emphasizes the potential of technology to mitigate these hazards and improve workplace safety. Innovative solutions such as wearable devices, safety apps, and advanced machinery with built-in safety features are transforming how employers approach safety protocols.

These technologies can monitor workers’ environments in real time, provide instant alerts for hazardous conditions, and ensure that machinery operates safely and efficiently.

“At the heart of Work to Zero’s mission is preventing worker injuries and ultimately saving lives,” said Katherine Mendoza, senior director of workplace programs at NSC, per the recent report. “Since the initiative began, what we have found is that there are numerous technology solutions available to employers to help mitigate risks and keep workers safe. However, workplace hazards are constantly evolving as job demands change, which is why it’s critical to regularly assess industry risks to better understand trends and find the right solutions.”

Injured workers have legal rights

Workers injured on the job in New York are often entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which can cover the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs. However, navigating the claims process can be challenging without the help of a lawyer.

At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP, we have extensive experience representing workers who have been injured on the job. Our highly skilled attorneys understand the nuances of workers’ compensation law in New York and are dedicated to ensuring you receive the benefits you deserve.

We also offer legal representation on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront or out-of-pocket costs, and you pay nothing unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related injury in New York, our law firm is here to help. Contact us today for a free evaluation to discuss your case and explore your potential options for obtaining the compensation you deserve.

“The firm treated me with respect and dignity and handled all my workers’ comp issues with ease. I highly recommend them.” – Former client.

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Workers’ Memorial Day To Be Observed On April 28

Graphic with the words "Workers’ Memorial Day. April 28."

While Memorial Day in May is widely recognized, there’s another important commemoration that often goes unnoticed: Workers’ Memorial Day. Observed in April, this day serves as a poignant reminder of the workers who have lost their lives to work-related injuries or illnesses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Workers’ Memorial Day honors those who have tragically died on the job and “encourages us to think of ways in which we all can help to achieve the goal of safer and healthier workplaces.”

Our New York workers’ compensation attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP explain the significance of this annual event and the importance of seeking legal help if you were injured while on the job.

If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Seeking guidance from an experienced work injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and pursue the full extent of compensation you deserve.

What is Workers’ Memorial Day?

In 1970, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) created Workers’ Memorial Day. At that time, an estimated 38 people each day died as a result of work-related illnesses or accidents, according to a U.S. Department of Labor. That’s more than 13,870 work-related fatalities each year, on average.

Have work-related fatalities gone down since 1970?

The good news is that workplace deaths have decreased nationwide since 1970. In 2022, a total of 5,486 people died in work-related accidents, according to the most recent workplace fatality data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

However, compared to more recent years, that figure is worse. For example, the year before, 5,190 people died in work-related accidents in 2021. The year before that, there were only 4,764 workplace fatalities nationwide, according to BLS data.

What are the most common causes of workplace fatalities?

Based on workplace accident data compiled by the BLS and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), some of the most common causes of workplace fatalities continue to include:

  • Work-related transportation accidents, which account for more than 2,100 workplace fatalities each year, on average.
  • Slip, trip and fall accidents, which account for more than 800 workplace deaths per year.
  • Exposure to harmful substances, which result in more than 800 deaths per year.
  • Being struck by an object or equipment at work, which accounts for more than 700 annual deaths.
  • Violence at work, which results in more than 800 deaths per year, on average.

“While significant progress has occurred since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (in 1970), much more remains to be made,” the CDC said in a recent announcement about the annual Workers’ Memorial Day event.

Protecting the rights of injured workers in NY for over 90 years.

Dealing with a serious work-related injury or illness in New York can be complicated. In most cases, you should be eligible to receive workers’ workers’ compensation benefits if you get sick or hurt at work. However, obtaining the benefits you rightfully deserve can often be much more difficult than you might expect.

Our New York City workers’ compensation attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP can help you every step of the way. Our highly skilled legal team has decades of experience handling complicated workers’ compensation claims throughout New York and has recovered over $1 billion in awards and settlements for our clients.

Get the law firm that gets results for injured New Yorkers. Contact us and schedule an appointment with a workers’ compensation lawyer who will put your best interests first. We have 12 offices conveniently located in New York, including five offices in New York City.

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Cold Stress Prevention: Protecting Workers with Winter Gear and Training

NYC construction worker dressed in layers is ready for the cold.

Winter weather and cold temperatures can heighten the risks of working in New York, with cold stress being a lesser-known but potentially serious hazard. Cold stress happens when temperatures drop and the body has to work harder to maintain its normal level of warmth. When cold stress is not addressed, it can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and other serious work injuries.

Protecting workers from the cold is critical

Precautions must be taken to ensure employees in construction, transportation, delivery, warehousing, maintenance, and other jobs can stay safe and maintain productivity when temperatures drop. This includes wearing appropriate head-to-toe winter gear, such as insulated clothing, gloves, and thermal footwear. Moreover, it’s essential to understand the cold’s impact on the body, including the risk of frostbite, hypothermia, and reduced dexterity, and to recognize the signs of heat loss in oneself and colleagues.

Additionally, regular safety training should be an integral part of any organization’s cold-weather preparedness strategy. This training should cover topics like the importance of proper clothing layering, staying dry, and keeping active to maintain body heat. By implementing these precautions and promoting a culture of safety, employers can reduce the risk of cold stress injuries and ensure a safe and productive working environment during the winter months.

5 ways the cold affects your body

When temperatures drop, it can almost feel like the cold is “attacking” you. There are five primary ways that cold lowers internal heat:

1. Radiation: When temperatures drop, exposed skin becomes a primary source of heat loss as it radiates body heat. Workers in cold environments often experience a rapid sensation of cold due to this radiation.

2. Convection: Wind, technically a form of convection, exacerbates the cold sensation, particularly on windy days. It does this by displacing the warm air layer near the skin, making workers feel even colder than the actual temperature suggests.

3. Conduction: Heat loss through conduction occurs when workers come into contact with colder objects, such as metal tools or cold surfaces. This direct contact can quickly drain body heat.

4. Evaporation: While insulation may keep workers warm, it can lead to an unexpected risk during winter. The body’s natural response to cold is to start sweating inside insulated gear. However, this can increase the risk of cold stress, as the body loses heat through the process of evaporation.

5. Respiration: Inhaling bitterly cold air can be distracting for workers, diverting their attention and putting them at risk of heat loss. Cold air entering the respiratory system can lower the body’s core temperature, making it challenging to stay warm.

How to dress when working in the cold

Staying safe and warm while working in cold conditions is a shared responsibility between employers and employees. Whether employers provide insulated uniforms or offer stipends for personal winter gear, these tips can help:

  • Tailored Insulation: Choose insulated workwear tailored to the specific environment. Workers with lower activity levels may need more insulation than those requiring greater flexibility to perform their tasks.
  • Cover Exposed Areas: Ensure no skin is left exposed. Protect the neck, ears, and face from cold, wetness, and wind to prevent frostbite and discomfort.
  • Layering Strategy: Embrace a layered clothing approach for flexibility. Include an inner layer to wick away sweat, a mid-layer for warmth, and an outer layer to shield against wind and wet conditions. Removing a layer when sweating can help workers stay dry and warm.
  • Proper Fit: Opt for clothing that fits properly to avoid bulkiness or restricted mobility, allowing workers to perform their tasks comfortably.
  • Hydration Matters: Prioritize hydration over caffeine to help the body operate efficiently, promoting maximum warmth and overall well-being.
  • Caloric Intake: Consume more calories by eating more or opting for higher-calorie foods. The body expends additional energy to maintain temperature in the cold, making sufficient caloric intake essential.
  • Recognize Cold Stress: If experiencing symptoms of cold stress, it’s crucial to exit the cold environment promptly. Recognizing these signs and taking appropriate action can prevent serious cold-related health issues.

Signs of cold stress on the job

Recognizing the signs of cold stress on the job is essential for the safety and well-being of workers. Familiarity with these indicators allows individuals to take prompt action to address the issue. If any of these signs are observed or experienced, seeking a warm environment is crucial. If symptoms persist or worsen, urgent medical attention should be sought. Here are the signs of cold stress:

  • Shivering: An initial response to cold stress, shivering is the body’s attempt to generate heat by rapid muscle contractions. It’s a clear signal that the body is struggling to maintain its temperature.
  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or fatigued can be a sign of cold stress. The body expends extra energy to combat the cold, leading to increased weariness.
  • Confusion: Cold stress can affect cognitive function, resulting in confusion or mental fog. Workers may find it challenging to concentrate or make decisions.
  • Reduced Alertness or Delayed Reactions: Cold can slow down reflexes and reaction times, making it difficult to respond quickly to workplace hazards.
  • Limited Mobility: Extreme cold can cause muscles and joints to stiffen, limiting mobility and making movement more challenging.
  • Impaired Speech: Cold stress can affect speech patterns, leading to slurred or impaired speech.
  • Cold Sensations: Workers may experience cold, tingling, stinging, or aching sensations in exposed areas of the body, which can progress to numbness as the cold intensifies.
  • Skin Color Changes: Skin may become visibly white or pale due to reduced blood flow to the extremities, indicating that the body is prioritizing core temperature over extremities.

Cold stress can cause serious work-related injuries

While some employers may not take it seriously, cold stress is a significant concern that can lead to severe work-related injuries. At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP in New York, we understand the gravity of cold stress and its potential impact on workers’ safety and well-being. Our team of dedicated work injury lawyers is here to advocate for those who have suffered cold-related injuries in the workplace.

We recognize that the consequences of cold stress can be debilitating, and our mission is to provide the legal support and representation needed to secure compensation for affected individuals. If you or a loved one has experienced work-related injuries due to cold stress, our experienced attorneys are ready to stand by your side and guide you through the legal process to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. To see how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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Fighting For Your Benefits – Protecting Our Safety Net

As an attorney who has been practicing in the field of Workers’ Compensation for close to 30 years, it has been a privilege and an honor to represent the working men and women of New York. As the daughter of both a retired firefighter and retired teacher, I see the sacrifices that most working men and women make in order to provide for their families and create a better life for their children. We all have similar long-term goals of being able to earn enough of a nest egg to retire and enjoy our “golden years”.  No one goes to work expecting that they will sustain an injury that will not only change the course of their employment, but may change the course of their lives. Even less expected is the bureaucratic maze most will have to navigate for benefits to which they are entitled.

Injured workers in this country have seen their weekly benefits capped, their medical benefits slashed, and their medications limited based upon the opinions of those who may not even examine them but only review records. Injured workers have been the pawn in political battles throughout the country.  Benefits are seen as too expensive or excessive, and are described as the reason businesses cannot thrive or survive as premiums have become so expensive because of the high costs of claims. Injured workers are sometimes seen as “gaming the system” by fraudulently obtaining and keeping Workers’ Compensation benefits beyond their need. There could be nothing farther from the truth.

One of the things I am proud of in my legal career is that I am past president of the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG), an organization of attorneys who have dedicated their practices to representing the needs of injured workers’ and their families. Our mission statement notes that “our members are committed to improving the quality of legal representation to those injured on the job or victims of occupational illness by superior legal education and my keeping informed of legislative and judicial proceedings”. We do this by keeping up with trends throughout the country that impact injured workers and might end up coming to the states in which we practice.

While injured workers rarely have the finances to take on some of the very wealthy and deep-pocketed business and insurance industry groups, our organization has found that in many instances we can fight back by having knowledge and knowing the facts. My colleague and another past president of WILG, Leonard Jernigan, has for the last decade or so put the perception of “gaming the system” to the test. In his most recent report, he notes that the top 10 cases of fraud resulted in almost $100 million in lost revenue and that not one of those cases involved the actual worker. This is not out of the ordinary. While there are those workers who clearly fabricate an injury or exaggerate its seriousness, they are in the minority. Most men and women do not want to be injured, nor do they want to stay out of work when they are. As the recent government shut down showed, there are many people in this country who live paycheck to paycheck. Any loss of income creates major financial hardship for injured workers and their families, not to mention the psychological impact created by the mere thought of losing their places of residence or their dreams for their future. We must remember that while injured workers in this country are a minority of the population, in the blink of an eye, we too can become a part of this very unfortunate club.


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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Frostbite and Hypothermia: Dangers Of Working In Extreme Cold

Now that winter is officially upon us, let’s think about those workers who must brave the cold, wind, snow, and freezing rain as part of their daily work routine. They include postal workers, delivery personnel, construction workers, utility company employees, as well as firefighters, police officers, and sanitation workers.  I shiver when the news shows video of firefighters putting out a fire in the frigid temperatures as the wind blows back the water on them that immediately freezes. I cringe during record cold spells when I see police officers out in the elements protecting the public. 

These are just a few examples of what many men and women deal with as part of their workday. While most of us living in the northeast have experienced freezing temperatures while commuting or engaging in recreational outdoor activities or doing outdoor chores in our daily lives, it is generally for a finite period of time and while it certainly is uncomfortable, it is not usually life threatening.

Working in the cold can not only cause a reduction in job performance but can aggravate the risk of common hazards and increase the risk of injury. It is not just the outside temperature that must be taken into consideration, but the wind chill, which is what the temperature actually feels like when the wind is factored in. According to the Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) Administration, while there are no specific guidelines for working in cold environments, employers have a duty to protect workers from any hazards that could cause injury or death in the workplace. While it is left to the particular industry/employer to establish protocol, OSHA does recommend that employers train their employees to recognize the symptoms of cold stress, including hypothermia and frostbite.

Hypothermia is dangerously low body temperature. Initial symptoms include shivering, followed by dizziness and disorientation. There may be loss of coordination that can be dangerous as it can lead to accidents and injuries. Eventually circulation starts to slow down and the heart stops, leading to death.    

Frostbite is caused by the freezing of the skin and tissue that can damage blood vessels, resulting in a lack of oxygen. Severe frostbite can result in gangrene that requires amputation, and can even lead to death. In both cases, it is recommended to get the person to a warm place and provide immediate medical attention.

Preventing hypothermia and frostbite before they happen should be a priority. According to the National Safety Council, it is important to dress in layers and wear proper footwear to keep body heat trapped inside your clothes. Your outerwear should be wind- and water-proof to keep you dry. As the head and neck lose heat faster than any other part of the body, and your cheeks, ears, and nose are the most prone to frostbite, you should wear a hat, scarf, and turtleneck to protect these areas. Drink plenty of fluids to fuel your body and keep you warm, and eat foods with carbohydrates to give you quick energy. 

While there is very little we can do about the weather, there is plenty we can do to protect ourselves from the negative effects on our bodies. Knowing the warning signs and what to if you or a coworker starts showing symptoms can help save a life.


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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What To Do When You Get Hurt At Work

As an attorney who has practiced in the field of Workers’ Compensation for more than 28 years, I have seen many changes in how the system treats injured workers.  During this age of progressiveness in New York, when the minimum wage has increased and the requirement for paid sick leave has been implemented, it only stands to reason that injured workers would be treated with dignity during their quest to obtain monetary benefits for their lost time and obtain the medical treatment necessary during their recovery. 

Unfortunately, however, there has been a nationwide focus on Workers’ Compensation reform with the emphasis on cost savings, often at the expense of the injured worker.  New York State has followed along in this national trend; therefore, it is even more imperative to know what to do in the event of a work-related injury or illness.  Injured workers must notify their employer immediately – preferably in writing if possible – within 30 days and file their claim with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board within two years of the date of an accident or onset of an illness.     

Additionally, finding the right doctor is one of the most important decisions you can make during this particularly rough time. After you are injured, you obviously must seek immediate medical attention before you do anything else. Don’t wait or assume your injury is going to heal, because if you are unable to work, benefits will not be payable until the date of the first medical treatment. You might need to go to the hospital if your injury is an emergency or life threatening, but in most cases you should be able to visit your physician. Either way, be sure you notify the medical professional that you are being treated for a work-related injury as any treatment should be billed through Workers’ Compensation.  It is important that your treating physician be coded to practice before the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board because of the medical evidence necessary to proceed with a claim, the myriad of forms they are required to file, and the possibility of their testimony in the future.  

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has implemented medical treatment guidelines for injuries to the back, neck, shoulder, knees, and bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. Medical providers must comply with these guidelines in their treatment of injured workers, which have a number of treatments or tests that are preauthorized based upon certain findings. If the modality of treatment is not included in the guidelines, a variance may be requested. There are different forms for different requests and different timelines in which to file. A doctor not coded in Workers’ Compensation or inexperienced in this procedure could prevent you from receiving proper or timely treatment. 

Payments made for lost time are based upon the earnings of the injured worker, as well as the overall degree of disability. The degree of disability is based upon the medical evidence submitted by the injured worker’s treating doctor, as well as the opinion of the insurance company’s consultant. Many times these opinions are at odds and medical testimony is necessary so the law judge can make an informed decision. Doctors who are coded understand the procedure and the necessity of being available to testify on your behalf at these medical depositions. The insurance carrier will question the doctor on whether he or she is coded, which may impact the judge’s perception as to a doctor’s credibility regarding treatment guidelines, degree of disability, or earning capacity. Ultimately, the length of time and the amount of weekly benefits an injured worker is entitled to receive benefits once permanency is determined by a law judge is based on a finding of loss of earning capacity. In many cases, there can be a difference in years. 

Nothing is better than finding a doctor who is competent, empathetic, and an expert in his area of specialty, but finding one with all of these qualities who is also knowledgeable in Workers’ Compensation is invaluable. 


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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MTA Workers Face Dangerous Conditions

For many of us who live in and work around New York City, taking public transportation is part the routine of our daily lives. According to the MTA’s official website, they are the largest public transportation network in the country, serving more than 15 million riders on the subways, buses, and Long Island Railroad, and they employ more than 73,000* people.   

Most of the time, our commutes are uneventful. However, we all have our own transportation horror stories to tell — trains arriving hours late or breaking down, rail lines closed for repairs or emergencies, air conditioning not working, or being in the company of an unruly, drunk, or perhaps mentally unstable individual. As commuters we expect to arrive at our destinations on time and safely. As employees, you expect to perform your duties safely and without threat of harm.

Unfortunately for many MTA employees, this is not the case. My office has handled hundreds of cases regarding injuries that occurred within the transportation system. Subway conductors and bus operators, mechanics, token booth clerks, cleaners, and track equipment maintainers are all MTA jobs that are necessary to move millions of riders each year. These MTA workers are typically represented by the Transit Workers Union Local 100, which regularly gets reports of their injured employees. Yet, while the union knows that workplace injuries are the unfortunate part of the job, the general public often does not realize the extent of just how dangerous an MTA job can actually be.

There are so many instances of workers being injured or even killed that have made the news. In March, a track worker who was making repairs died when he fell 9 feet onto the tracks. Some accidents are caused by slipping and falling on the tracks, others by lifting heavy equipment or as a result of sitting long hours in a fixed position. Some work-related injuries occur because of unsafe work conditions. Some occur in the absence of fault. Unfortunately, there seems to be a rising trend of injuries occurring when workers find themselves in the line of fire from riders.

Recently there were a string of pepper spray attacks on bus drivers. Two occurred in Brooklyn on the same day, with more following just a few days later. Thankfully the drivers suffered only minor injuries. In June, a conductor in Brooklyn was attacked, and a month later another was attacked in Queens. In August, video was released of a subway conductor being punched by an angry couple upset that their train schedule was changed.

And if all of these incidents were not bad enough, sadly, three Transit workers died this year from illnesses contracted working at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks in 2001.  

The increase in attacks on transit workers is outrageous and in a rare display of solidarity, both the Transit Workers Union and the MTA have united in their efforts to put an end to the attacks on workers.   While riding public transportation is getting more and more frustrating, the answer is not to attack the working men and women who work for the transit system. The majority of time something has gone wrong, it’s not their fault. Everyone, no matter what industry they work in, expects and deserves to have a safe work space free from assaults and injuries.

*2017 statistics from the official MTA website.


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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Benefits Alert – Workers’ Compensation Rates Increased on July 1, 2018

Senior Partner Jordan A. Ziegler

Last year’s solar eclipse brought about fun and excitement for Americans of all ages, but did you know it also brought about several Workers’ Compensation claims?

The rare total solar eclipse was the first time it occurred in the United States since 1979. The August 21 eclipse was the most watched and photographed eclipse in history. With all the excitement surrounding the day, many employers planned solar eclipse office viewing parties. What they might not have known, however, was that in the case of a mandatory employer-sponsored event, safety precautions must be taken. In this case, employers were responsible for providing safety glasses. Employees who were injured while eclipse-viewing on the job were able to file Workers’ Compensation claims if their boss did not provide adequate eye protection.

In fact, an article about workplace safety concerns related to the eclipse was the third most read Workers’ Compensation story on Business Insurance’s website in 2017. This substantiates the proof that Workers’ Comp is a complicated matter and one that workers should not play guessing games with.

Jordan Ziegler, Esq. Senior Partner in the law firm Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP, said the New York State Workers’ Compensation system is a no-fault system that was created to aid injured workers with wage replacement and medical benefits. However, navigating through the Workers’ Comp maze requires much more than chasing a dangling carrot. You need to know and understand the rules in order to follow the rules. And that’s no easy task.

The effects of even a small injury can last a lifetime, so make the most of each step toward healing and the compensation to which you are entitled. Effective July 1, 2018, the new maximum weekly benefit for Workers’ Compensation claims increased to $904.74 from the previous year’s $870.61.

If you are injured on the job, or think you might have a work-related injury, here are some important steps to follow:

  • Let your employer know the circumstances that resulted in your injury. You only have 30 days to report the incident. Next, inform the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) so everyone is on the same page. It may be difficult to contact them but don’t worry, you’ve got two years to let them know.
  • Even if you don’t lose time from work, you should still file a claim. Someone has to pay the medical bills and it’s typically the WCB’s insurance company’s responsibility.
  • Remember to document any phone records and emails that follow. Written communication is the best way to later prove your side of the story. In fact, the law requires you to give written notice of your injury to your employer. Make sure you note the supervisors and staff you communicate with and the date your notification took place. Make copies of everything! And save all emails.
  • When seeking medical attention, either in the nearest emergency room or a doctor’s office, ask for detailed records of your injury and prescribed treatment.

Ziegler said the path to benefits is highly detailed. You may not even realize that beside medical benefits, you might also qualify for indemnity benefits — money you receive each week that you’re unable to work. With a permanent injury, you might be eligible for such benefits even if you return to your job.

Just as employers have attorneys to represent the interests of their companies, YOU must gather the right team to navigate the detailed — and often confusing — laws of Workers’ Compensation.

“Workers’ Comp goes a long way toward helping ease the financial burden that comes with not being able to fully return to work,” Ziegler said. “There are so many complicated ins and outs of filing, however, that all too often injured workers will give up rather than fight for what they are entitled do. That’s where we are able to step in and help but we can’t do that if we don’t know about the injury.”

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