Tag Archives: recovery

The Road Ahead: Adjusting To Life After An Injury

As an attorney who has represented injured workers for more than 27 years, I see first hand what an injury can do to workers and their families. A number of years ago I represented an injured electrician, who as a result of an overextension injury sustained on the job, ended up having multiple surgeries. Almost immediately, this once athletic, high wage earner with a beautiful family and comfortable lifestyle saw an abrupt end to the life he knew.

My client faced a debilitating injury. He was no longer able to travel, his personal relationships suffered, and his once strong physique withered away. His financial situation was dire and he was unable to afford his home. Beside the extreme physical impairment, he ended up being treated for major depression. Both the insurance carrier’s medical providers, as well as the claimant’s treating doctors in this particular case, agreed that the claimant was totally disabled or incapable of performing any meaningful work activity – a standard not easy to meet.

Many of those injured on the job may not be able to return to their prior employment. Yet, according to the law, that does not mean they are totally disabled from any employment. If they are able to perform any work activity at all then they may be considered partially disabled. The amount of weekly payments an injured person receives and the length of time an injured worker receives these benefits is dependent upon a number of factors including degree of disability and loss of earning capacity. A partial disability can be considered mild, moderate, or marked.  These degrees are further broken down into when an injury is deemed permanent to a percentage loss of earning capacity. In some cases the difference of one percent loss of earning capacity can mean the difference of a full year of additional benefits. As you can imagine, much of my practice is consumed with litigation regarding the degree of disability and the loss of earning capacity.

The road for those who are partially disabled is not an easy one. Despite the Workers’ Compensation Board’s determination that an injured person has an ability to perform some work activity, it does not always translate into being able to obtain employment. In the case of serious injuries resulting in extensive lost time, the employer may have had to fill the position or the employer may not be able to accommodate the physical limitations. This puts injured workers in a position of having to look for alternate employment that they may not be trained for. The Board recommends a number of resources available to those seeking assistance, including one-stop career centers, as well as participating in vocational rehabilitation programs and continuing education such as SUNY Educational Opportunity centers adult career and continuing education. For more information go to www.wcb.ny.gov/labor-market-attachment

Many workers who are unable to obtain employment because of their injuries apply for Social Security Disability benefits. The standard for Social Security disability is different than Workers’ Compensation and relies more on the age and ability of the injured person to be retrained and to obtain relevant future employment. Social Security Disability benefits are payable for any illness or injury and do not have to be work related. All medical conditions are considered by the federal judge when making a determination as to eligibility, including physical or emotional impairments.

While an injury on the job can be life altering, there are resources available. You may never be able to return to your pre-injury status, but knowing your options allows you the ability to have some control over your 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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Insurance Companies Join Coalition to Mitigate Natural Disaster Risks

Volunteer groups are providing assistance to residents of Union Beach, N.J. who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Volunteer groups are providing assistance to residents of Union Beach, N.J. who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA

Today’s post comes to us from our colleague Jon Gelman from New Jersey.

As weather patterns have changed, and 100 year storms seem to be occurring across the nation every year, insurance companies are joining others in a coalition of other voices to speak out on mitigating damages and presenting harm to workers.

The dangers to first responders and rescue workers have become enormous. NJ Governor Chris Christie spoke out on Saturday Night Live about the unnecessary increased risk, when even city mayors of costal communities defy evacuation orders, and unnecessarily put  workers in harms way. He called those who defy evacuation orders “idiots.”

Name-calling doesn’t solve problems, but reasonable action does. SmartSafer.org was established to support and advocate for smarter, more effective policies to help people in need, promote disaster safety and preparedness, and foster sounder environmental stewardship of our fragile coastal ecosytems.

“We simply can’t go on subsidizing enormous numbers of people to live in areas that are prone to huge natural disasters.” Eli Lehrer a member of SmarterSafer.org, a Washington-based coalition, on subsidies for rebuilding coastal communities.

Read the complete article in the NY Times: As Coasts Rebuild and U.S. Pays, Repeatedly, the Critics Ask Why


Read more about Hurricane Sandy

NJ Provides Workers’ Compensation For Hurricane Recovery

Nov 12, 2012

As Hurricane Sandy recovery workers descend on NJ by land, sea and airlift, by the thousands, energized and fueled by caffeine, to work long and tiring hours, to do treacherous and hazardous tasks, they need to understand …


OSHA urges hurricane recovery workers to protect themselves

Nov 05, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is urging workers and members of the public engaged in Hurricane Sandy cleanup and recovery efforts in New York, New Jersey and the New …


Workers’ Compensation: Hurricane Sandy Relief: US Resources

Nov 06, 2012

Safety is a primary issue when you’re recovering from a disaster. Follow these tips to help ensure your safety and cope with the disaster. If you aren’t able to return home, states, tribes, localities, and the Red Cross continue to …


Deadly Asbestos Exposure Threat Left by Hurricane Sandy

Nov 04, 2012

The path of destruction to buildings caused by hurricane Sandy has created a potential threat of deadly asbestos exposure. Many structures destroyed and damaged by the storm contained asbestos fiber and those were …


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Superstorm Sandy: How To Be Compensated For Your Damages

Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP hopes that you, your family and your neighbors are safe. As we work through the Hurricane Sandy recovery process we want to make sure that you have important information on what steps to take in order to be properly compensated for any damage to your home and/or business.

Property Insurance Claims

Superstorm Sandy Property Insurance Claims

We urge homeowners who have experienced property losses from Hurricane Sandy to file insurance claims with their insurers promptly.

  • Document losses as best as possible through both photos and videos before cleaning up damage.
  • Make only necessary repairs to prevent further property damage, like covering broken windows. Permanent repairs should not be made until after the insurance company does an inspection.
  • Write down your claim number and keep a log of all your conversations with your insurance agent and claims adjuster, including their names, dates and visits and calls.

Business Interruption Claims

Superstorm Sandy Business Interruption Claims

If you have suffered any business interruption as a result of the storm, you should also contact your insurance company promptly and inform them of your losses.

  • Documents the losses as best as possible through both video and photo evidence before clearing the damage.
  • Document all of your business losses with your accountant.
  • Contact us for your free evaluation to determine whether your claims are covered by your insurance.
  • If you claim was denied or if you were underpaid, call us for a FREE evaluation of your claim

Call Us Toll Free

(855) 2-STORM-LAW

(855) 278-6765

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Hurricane Sandy: Resources for Protecting Cleanup Workers and Volunteer (NYCOSH)

The New York City Central Labor Council, the Long Island Federation of Labor and the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) have released a fact sheet: CAUTION: HURRICANE SANDY CLEAN UP CAN BE HAZARDOUS! with information on how to avoid illnesses and injuries during hurricane cleanup. A list of links to government resources is included.

“There are a wide range of hazards to which workers, volunteers and home owners may be exposed,” said Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council. “These include safety hazards such as electrocution, asphyxiation and exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos, lead, silica and biological hazards such as mold and bacteria from backed up sewage.”   According to John Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor, “Previous emergency events such as World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina and Deepwater Horizon have demonstrated that there are significant gaps in responding to emergency worker and volunteer health and safety needs – resulting in tens of thousands of rescue and clean up workers becoming ill.   The fact sheet produced by NYCOSH provides information about safety and health hazards cleanup workers can expect to encounter and links to other useful information.”

In addition to such widespread hazards, NYCOSH is particularly concerned about clean up of areas such as the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek in which the storm water is likely overflow into nearby residential areas. Sewage poses very significant threats to human health. Safe and effective cleanup or removal of sewage-contaminated materials is usually best left to technically qualified, environmental professionals. “The Gowanus Canal,” said Joel Shufro, Executive Director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health “is a federally designated Super Fund site. The canal contains highly toxic substances and it is imperative that special precautions be taken and that only workers who are appropriately trained participate in the clean up.” 

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers must provide a safe and healthful workplace free of recognized hazards and follow OSHA standards. Employers’ responsibilities also include providing training, personal protective equipment appropriate to the cleanup tasks. Employers are also required to provide medical examinations and recordkeeping. Workers should report hazardous conditions to OSHA (1-8000 321-OSHA(6742).

The New York City Central Labor Council (NYCCLC) is a non-profit labor membership organization 1.3 million workers in 300 local unions from every trade, occupation, public and private sector of the New York economy.

The Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, is the voice for the Long Island labor movement representing over 160 unions of workers in a wide range of occupations on Long Island

NYCOSH is a membership organization of workers, unions, community-based organizations, health and legal professionals, and other activists.  The mission of NYCOSH is to insure that every worker is provided a safe and healthful work environment. NYCOSH believes that all workplace injuries and illnesses are preventable. 

(Click here for fact sheet)

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5 Resources For Victims Of Hurricane Sandy

1. Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance Now Available to New Yorkers Affected by Hurricane Sandy

New Yorkers Who Work and Live in Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester Counties Can Apply

Department of Labor Staff to Deploy to Disaster Areas to Register Impacted New Yorkers

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that federal disaster unemployment assistance is now available to all New Yorkers who lost their jobs as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Disaster unemployment benefits are available to provide financial support to anyone who has lost their job and live or work in the Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester counties.

This assistance will supplement New York’s existing unemployment insurance system and will expand eligibility to include individuals who might otherwise not be covered. The United States Department of Labor has committed to providing additional assistance if needed.

Department of Labor staff will be deployed to hard-hit communities to help register impacted New Yorkers for Disaster Unemployment Assistance in person.

Anyone unemployed due to Hurricane Sandy is immediately eligible and can submit a claim to the Department of Labor. The criterion for collecting disaster assistance is broader than for collecting regular unemployment benefits. Specifically, an individual can collect disaster assistance in any of the following cases:

  • Injured in the disaster and unable to work, whether the person is an employee or self-employed.
  • Workplace is damaged, or destroyed, or the person cannot work because of the disaster.
  • Transportation to work is not available because of the disaster.
  • Cannot get to work because must travel through the affected area, which is impossible due to disaster.
  • Planned to begin working, but cannot because of the disaster.
  • Derived most of income from areas affected by the disaster, and business is closed or inoperable because of the disaster.

Examples of self-employment include small business owners, independent taxi drivers, vendors, independent commercial fisherman, and farmers.

State Department of Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera said, “These people want to work and are unable to because of circumstances far beyond their control. This money will directly help workers who have families to feed and bills to pay. Contact the Department of Labor and we will determine which program you qualify for.” 

To apply for unemployment benefits or disaster unemployment assistance, those affected by the storm and have lost their job or income should call the Telephone Claims Center (TCC) at 1-888-209-8124, or 1-877-358-5306 if they live out of state. Applicants should answer the questions to indicate they lost their job due to Hurricane Sandy. In order to receive benefits you must apply by December 3, 2012.


2. After Sandy, Family Health Centers Are Open in the Bronx – Everyone Welcome 

The Institute for Family Health, a non-profit organization, announced that its six family health centers in the Bronx are open following Hurricane Sandy. Doctors and mental health staff are available to see patients of all ages – babies, children and adults. The health centers accept all patients, regardless of their insurance type or ability to pay.

The Institute invites anyone in need of primary care or mental health services to visit its centers. “There is no need to wait to see a doctor, or go to the emergency room if you don’t absolutely need to,” said Dr. Neil Calman, the Institute’s president and CEO. “We know everyone has had a very difficult few days. We are here to help. If you need health care, please visit us in the Bronx at any of our six locations.”

A list of the Institute’s Bronx health centers, including phone numbers and hours of operation, is attached. For more information about the Institute or its Bronx health centers, please visit www.institute2000.org


3. Partnership to Help New Yorkers Find Poll Sites on Election Day by Text Message 


New Yorkers seeking information about where to vote on Election Day will be able to locate their poll site by text message starting today. While Hurricane Sandy has forced last-minute changes to many planned poll sites in Tuesday’s election, up-to-date information on voting locations is now only a text message away.

Text “NYCVOTES” to 877-877
Message and data rates may still apply. Customers can text ‘STOP’ to opt out of further messages.
Spanish speakers can text “DONDE” to 877-877 to receive prompts in Spanish.

The text system allows users to look up multiple poll sites. Follow the instructions provided to enter the address of the voter whose poll site you believe may have changed.

“During this especially trying week, Tuesday’s election is only one among many pressing concerns,” said Art Chang, Chair of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee. “With many poll sites affected by the storm, it’s even more important that we help New Yorkers find their way to the polls to make their voices heard. Thanks to this service, voters need only a cell phone to keep themselves informed.” 

The poll site locator was developed by Mobile Commons, a mobile strategy company based in DUMBO and is being provided pro bono to New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Mobile Commons uses official elections information provided by the Voting Information Project and powered by Google for their Polling Place Locator that will help millions of Americans locate their polling place this election cycle. The Voting Information Project is a partnership between election officials, the Pew Center on the States, Google, Microsoft, and several other technology partners with the shared goal to bring official election information to voters wherever, whenever they need it.


4. Health Department Issues Food Safety and Water Guidelines for New Yorkers as Power is Restored in Some Areas

To help restaurants reopen safely, the Health Department is suspending regular restaurant inspections until Tuesday, November 12.   

The Health Department is announcing food safety and water guidelines to help New Yorkers stay healthy and safe as power is restored in neighborhoods across the City. Food that came into contact with flood waters is potentially contaminated and may cause serious illness or death and must be discarded. When frozen food thaws, and refrigerated food warms, bacteria and other pathogens grow that can also cause serious illnesses, and also needs to be discarded.

Learn more 


5. Health Care for Hurricane Sandy Workers and Volunteers

Mount Sinai Irving J. Selikoff Centers for Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Hurricane response and cleanup activities can put your physical health and emotional wellbeing at risk. For those workers and volunteers responding to Hurricane Sandy, you might be exposed to physical hazards and emotional stressors during the course of your work or volunteer effort.

Such hazards might include:

  • Electrical hazards, such as electrocution from downed wires. Be extra cautious around downed wires that might still be alive with electricity.
  • Injuries from electricor gas-powered tools, including chain saws. Always wear a full face mask, gloves and hearing protection when using a chain saw.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Falls
  • Fires
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals and contaminated water
  • Traumatic and stressful situations

How can the Mount Sinai Selikoff Centers help me?

  • Our doctors, nurses, and social workers have over 30 years of experience in the identification and treatment of occupational and environmental health problems. We can provide:
    • Confidential medical exams and treatment for health problems related to your Hurricane Sandy work
    • Confidential counseling services to help you cope with the emotional stress of your Hurricane Sandy work
    • Social work services to help you identify benefits and resources you and your family might need
    • Assistance with Workers’ Compensation, line of duty injury, and other benefits to which you may be entitled.

How Much Do Services Cost?

No one will be turned away due to an inability to pay. If you are eligible for Workers’ Compensation or line of duty injury benefits, you will not be billed. For charges not covered by workers’ compensation, line of duty injury, or other insurance, we have a sliding fee scale. 

How do I get help?

If you think you have been injured or made ill by your Hurricane Sandy work or volunteer activities, please contact the Mount Sinai Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at 212-241-5555.

We have clinic locations in:
345 East 102nd Street, Suite 215 
New York, NY 10029

1020 Warburton Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10701

For more information, please visit our websites athttp://coemnyc.org/about  or http://www.mountsinai.org/selikoff



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