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New York Workers' Compensation Laws

New York has been a mecca for fashionistas, bankers, businessmen, and everyone in between for ages. New Jersey may be the light at the end of the tunnel, but Manhattan is the city that never sleeps. But if you were injured on the job, whether in Upstate or on Wall Street, you will be thankful that New York workers' compensation laws typically require employers to carry coverage to give you the time you need to rest and recuperate.

The table and accompanying summaries below explain important aspects of New York workers' comp laws.

Workers' Comp Statute Section

WCL § 1, et seq.

Disability Benefits Statute Section

WCL § 200, et seq.

Benefits Time Limits

WCL § 12

  • Waiting period: 7 days
  • Retroactive after 14 days

Filing Time Limits

Choice of Doctor


New York requires most employers to carry workers' comp insurance coverage, including most employers of domestic and agricultural workers. Additionally, Congress allotted special funds to provide for workers' comp benefits to volunteers who assisted with the World Trade Center rescue, recovery, and clean-up effort. Claims for mental injuries are rarely compensable, but so long as a physical injury or occupational disease arose during the course of employment, benefits are likely to be awarded. Claims for benefits due to disability from hearing loss must be filed either within two years of the date of injury or, if two years have passed, within 90 days after you realize that your hearing loss is due to your employment.


Employees injured in work-related accidents or who suffer from occupational diseases may be entitled to wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, and/or vocational rehabilitation. Wage benefits are based on two-thirds of your average weekly income. New York workers' comp law does not require your employer to keep your job open for you, but in some cases the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will apply. If the FMLA applies, your employer must keep your job open for you.

In New York, employers additionally must carry disability benefits coverage to protect employers and employees from the financial hardships caused by off-the-job injuries, including pregnancy. Disability benefits may be paid for a maximum of 26 weeks and are cash wage replacement payments. Reimbursement for medical care is not included.

Dispute Resolution

If your claim is denied, you may request a hearing before a workers' compensation law judge. At the hearing, you or your attorney will have the opportunity to present evidence which supports your position. This evidence might include testimony from your physician proving the extent of your disability or documentation proving your average weekly wages. New York protects you and any employee who testifies on your behalf from employer retaliation. Once the judge issues a decision, either you or your employer may appeal the decision within 30 days. At any time, you may use alternative dispute resolution in the form of Voluntary Binding Review (VBR).

Workers' Comp Claim Denied? Talk to a New York Lawyer Today

Accidental injuries can result in stack of medical bills, lost time from work, and other financial hardships. Fortunately, New York has multiple programs in place to protect both you and your employer from the financial ramifications of accidental injuries. Whether your accidental injury occurred in the scope of your employment or outside of the office, if you're in need of skilled legal assistance, an experienced New York employment attorney can help.

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