While workers compensation covers expenses such as medical assistance and lost wages, there are rules workers must abide by to be eligible for these benefits.

The NY State Workers’ Compensation Board website highlights the steps you must take.

What should you do first?

Receive first aid or medical treatment as soon as possible. If your injury is an emergency situation, you can simply seek medical treatment and not be concerned about the provider. If your injury is not an emergency situation, you must use health care providers that are authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board.

How can you find an authorized healthcare provider?

You can call 1-800-781-2362 or find providers in the Healthcare Providers section of the Workers Compensation Board website. However, if your employer is authorized to participate in a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) or ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution) program, you may be required to receive medical care from a participating provider in these programs. By law, your employer is required to notify employees in writing about PPO or ADR programs. It is wise to ask your employer if you have not received notification. If you must undergo diagnostic tests or receive prescription medicine, it is possible that your employer’s insurance company may have a diagnostic network or network of pharmacies you must use. Your employer should have provided you with written notice if this is the case. However, if you received no notice, it is wise to inquire.

Will you have to pay for medical services?

Unless your employer disputes your case, insurance will cover the services. You may have to fill out a form A-9, and this form explains that you might be responsible for paying medical bills of the Workers’ Compensation Board disallows the claim or if you do not pursue a claim.

Who must you notify about your injury?

You must notify your supervisor as soon as possible and must inform your employer in writing within 30 days of the date the accident occurred that caused your injury. If you fail to do so, you could lose your right to compensation benefits.

What must you do if suffering from an occupational disease?

You must give notification to your employer within two years after you knew or should have know that your disease was work-related. You must fill out a Form C-3 and mail it to the nearest office of the Workers’ Compensation Board if you lost time at work.

What other actions can you with a workers compensation claim?

You should keep doctor’s appointments and follow your doctor’s instructions. If you’re ordered to receive an Independent Medical Examination, you should do so. You should return to work as soon as the doctor says you are able.

When to Seek Legal Help

If you need to attend hearings because your claim is disputed, you are wise to obtain a workers compensation lawyer to advocate on your behalf. Your employer and the workers compensation insurance company will have their attorneys present. Their attorneys will be protecting their interests, not yours.

At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP , we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your work related accident and the prospects of representing you in a workers compensation case.