Workers’ Compensation can provide valuable benefits if you are a paraprofessional, school nurse, occupational or physical therapist or supervisor of school security and have a work-related injury or occupational illness.
If you are a full-time or part-time employee holding these jobs and you are injured or get an occupational illness, you should file for Workers’ Compensation, a form of insurance already paid for by the Department of Education that entitles you to full medical coverage and a portion of any lost salary due to job-related injuries and occupational illnesses.
Report an injury promptly
The DOE requires accidents to be reported within 24 hours. However, under state Workers’ Comp law, you have 30 days to notify your employer of a work-related accident or injury.
It’s important to file for Workers’ Comp as soon as you realize the injury or illness is work-related. If your injury recurs and you didn’t file a claim within two years of the injury and establish a carrier case number, you may have difficulty receiving medical benefits.
If the DOE or the school does not accept your report because it is past the initial 24 hours, call the UFT Workers’ Compensation Unit at 212-510-6460.
You can also file a Workers’ Comp claim for an occupational illness, which is a medical condition that develops over time and is caused by the nature of the work you perform, when the condition has been diagnosed as work-related.
If you use the days in your Cumulative Absence Reserve (sick bank) due to the injury, you are entitled to get them restored when you file for Workers’ Comp, depending on how many days were used.
It doesn’t matter who is at fault for the injury/illness as long as you were on school property or were performing your assigned work duties. The only exceptions are when the injury is due solely to intoxication from alcohol or a controlled substance or you willfully injured yourself or were hurt while trying to injure someone else.
Filing a claim
Immediately report the injury, accident or illness to your supervisor, fill out a DOE Comprehensive Accident/Injury Report and, in the case of an assault or other safety incident, a DOE occurrence report through the Online Occurrence Reporting System as well as a UFT incident report.
Your employer must notify Workers’ Comp within 10 days of the injury.
Even if you don’t lose any days of work, you should still tell your chapter leader and contact the UFT’s Workers’ Compensation Unit.
To report and start a Workers’ Comp claim, you must fill out and submit a C-3 (Employee’s Report) form to the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board and have the school payroll secretary submit a C-2 (Employer’s Report) via the Payroll Portal for you to be indexed with a carrier case number as well.
The UFT has an arrangement with a large, reputable Workers’ Comp legal firm whose lawyers can advise you and help you fill out the C-3 form. You pay a lawyer’s fee only if you win, and it is paid out of your award.
See a Workers’ Comp-authorized MD
You’re also required to see a Workers’ Comp-authorized doctor as soon as possible or, if it’s an emergency, to go to a hospital emergency room. Tell the doctor your injury is work-related. Your health insurance will not pay for work-related injuries.
The physician is required to fill out and submit the Workers’ Comp C-4 form. It’s important to see an authorized provider because these doctors can complete and submit the C-4 form and will testify on your behalf if necessary. Ask your doctor to mail a copy of the completed C-4 form to you.
Save any paperwork or receipts that relate to your case/claim.
Consult the UFT or your Workers’ Comp attorney before applying for other benefits such as disability or unemployment insurance.