Eliot Levine and Associates is a full service law firm concentrating in New York State Workers’ Compensation matters, Social Security Disability, New York State Retirement, and Accidents.
Should you retain our office for legal services in connection with your Workers’ Compensation claim, we will process your case immediately. Regretfully, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board may take four to seven months to schedule a hearing on your case.
While you are awaiting for your hearing, you will continue to be entitled to weekly compensation benefits as long as there is uncontroverted medical evidence showing that you are disabled and out of work. If you return to work, you will continue to remain entitled to medical benefits. You are also entitled to be reimbursed for travel expenses (at the rate of 50.5 cents per mile) and prescription medication. These items should be sent to the insurance carrier directly on a periodic basis (i.e., once every 4-6 months). Retain a copy of everything you send. If you are not reimbursed, please inform us at your compensation hearing and provide us with a copy of all previously submitted expenses so that we may ask the Judge to award you the money.
As long as you remain out of work it is absolutely necessary that there be periodic reports certifying that you are still unable to work (i.e., once every six (6) weeks). Please do not allow any long lapse of time without medical evidence. You will also be required to see the carrier’s consultant from time to time (not more than once per month). The Compensation Law gives the insurance company an absolute right to these examinations and therefore you should attend them. These exams are necessary to obtain authorization for any testing or surgical procedures which your doctor may request and for continuation of benefits.
If you return to work, New York State Law requires that you notify the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board and the insurance carrier of any change in your work status and salary. If you are not presently working and return to work in the future, your benefit rate may change. If you are presently working and, in the future, receive an increase in salary or wages, your benefit rate may also change.
Please understand that the term “work” has been defined to mean any service that has value in the economy whether it be paid, unpaid, off the books or on the books. Recent legislative changes have made it a felony to fraudulently obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits. Incorrectly reporting your work status or entirely failing to report changes in your work status may result in loss of benefits in addition to civil and criminal investigations and penalties. Therefore, if you receive any correspondence from your insurance carrier requesting information about your work status, please forward your responses to this office to be reviewed prior to submitting them to the insurance carrier.
Please be further advised that during the pendency of your Compensation claim, the insurance company may wish to contact you for statement purposes or other forms of communications, which might include nurses, investigators, detectives or other individuals in the form of rehabilitation specialists. It is the position of our office that you should not agree to be interviewed or allow any of these individuals to assist you in any way without first contacting our office. We will set up an office interview with these individuals to satisfy their inquiries.
Please note the insurance carrier has hired these representatives and will obtain information from them that can be used to the insurance companies benefits. While such individuals will protest, they are interested in providing expeditious handling of your case in both medical and financial matters. These individuals maybe used to defeat your claim. We, do not recommend any communications with anyone, except this office.
Our office is staffed with attorneys, who are equally responsible and will work on your case. All information received becomes a part of your file for the attorney’s review and use. We have a fine clerical staff, trained to answer most of your questions. We anticipate you may have some questions in the future. WE ASK THAT YOU WORK WITH US TO ACHIEVE MAXIMUM RESULTS BY ALWAYS ADVISING OUR CLERICAL STAFF AS TO THE NATURE OF YOUR CALL. If the question involves a subject for which the clerical staff feels the attorney’s input is necessary, they will forward your call. We ask your cooperation so that our entire office can be of service to you.
If you work for a municipality or governmental entity and pay into the New York State Retirement System, you may file for retirement due, in part, to your Workers’ Compensation-related injuries. If you are disabled and are filing for such retirement because of your injury to protect your rights at the time you file your retirement papers, whether for accidental disability retirement, regular disability retirement, early retirement, or just regular retirement, you should note either on the application or in correspondence attached to the application that you are in part retiring because of a Workers’ Compensation-related injury/disability. This is critical. If you fail to include this saving clause you may loose your rights to continuing Workers’ Compensation Benefits since the insurance carrier could allege you voluntarily withdrew from the work force and are therefore are not entitled to any additional financial benefits under the Workers’ Compensation system. You should also obtain a letter from your doctor prior to your application for retirement, stating whether they have discussed retirement with you and whether they have advised you to retire because of your compensable condition. Lastly, should you have a permanent partial disability, you will have to verify work searches. Please call to go over these requirements.
To avoid any confusion; please note, pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Law, Section 24, “all attorney’s fees will be deducted from your award”. Please be advised that the Administrative Law Judge is responsible for determining the amount of said fee. This office will charge no other charges for attorney’s services.