New York Makes Strides with New Rules for Changing Hearing Point

Hearings Automatically Set for County in which Worker Resides

 
The NY Work Comp Board published on 7/3/12 established new rules for changing the hearing point (“Rule on Request for Venue Change, Subject No. 046-486). The hearings are automatically set for the county in which the worker resides, unless the worker resides out of state, in which case the worker can ask for a particular county. Special rules apply if the employer is a governmental body, in which case, hearings must be held in the same board district where the governmental body has offices.
 
After that, a change can only be made if the worker requests it in writing and gives a good reason for a change. The senior comp judge rules on the request and gives a written opinion.
 
 
New System Significant Improvement from Decades Past
 
In decades past, changes in hearing points resembled a game of dysfunctional musical chairs. The principal reasons for changes, especially in the New York City area, had nothing to do with the wishes of the worker or the convenience of witnesses – it had everything to do with the local culture of the comp system and, most importantly, how attorney fees were awarded.
 
Employers should be kept aware of any requests for a change in hearing points. A change should not be granted for the convenience of a medical witness since medical testimony is now taken by telephone depositions and no longer at hearings. It is no more difficult to take the deposition of doctors in Florida than doctors locally as the procedures are the same.
 
In the past, attorneys would ask that a change of hearing point be made to inconvenience the employer’s witnesses – using a worker’s remote address of a relative. The employer was sometimes directed to have three or four witnesses appear at a point hundreds of miles away, only to be informed, when they arrived, that the hearing was adjourned. Since depositions are now used, that gambit no longer works.
 
 
Employer Should be Updated on Requests for Changes
 
An employer should be kept in the loop on requests for changes of hearing point and should review the application to see if any reasons for a change are given that appear to contradict facts. If the request is not in accordance with known facts, a reply should be made.
 
 
 

Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. medsearch7@optonline.net

 

Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

In NY Workers Comp – What You Pay for is What You Get

Data, being released and discussed, shows that assessments for operating expenses made by the NY WCB against carriers (and passed on to employers) are five times higher than the national average for all states.

 
 
Why?
 
 
Well, the number of people employed by the NYWCB is greater (1500+) than the number of people employed by all comp boards east of the Mississippi (if Florida is excluded). By 1990, the NYWCB had 650,000 workers comp hearings per year, a number so large and anomalous that a major comp research institute studying New York twenty years ago at first thought that a zero had been added by mistake. [WCx]
 
 
In addition, NY has had for decades far higher assessments for second injury funds. (One eastern state has a second injury fund law that, for several decades, had only a single claim which qualified for reimbursement.)
 
 
The reasons for the New York anomaly can be traced back to a highly broad interpretation of a requirement that no claim for workers comp could be closed without affording the parties to a hearing. It did not say that more than one hearing was required, nor did it say that a hearing had to be automatically scheduled if no one requested it.
 
 
However. New York gradually drifted into the practice of automatically scheduling at least one hearing on every claim. If any party (claimant, carrier or an attorney) for some reason failed to attend, an adjournment was automatically granted. Lawyers, whose fees were, and are, proportional to the number of hearings, were never heard to complain about such policies.
 
 
By the 1980s, some claims were breaking all records for administrative tolerance. In one claim (and probably a lot more) a claimant was granted eleven consecutive “final opportunities for the claimant to appear. In 2009, a case was reported where two law firms, and the Board, required seven years of hearings and two years of court appeals to decide which of two carriers was responsible for a claim. (A board clerk had made a key stroke error which placed the wrong carrier on notice for the first hearing. No one ever thought to contact the Compliance Bureau.)

Nexium no prescription
buy Tadalafil no prescription
Kamagra without prescription

 
 
The message for employers is to avoid thinking that others (carriers and the Board) will be the first to limit unnecessary costs on claims. A principal reason (more likely, an excuse) for hearings is that necessary information is not in the carrier’s claim file or the WCB e-file. Yet much of the information (payrolls, lost time information) is obtained from the employer.
 
 
An employer can reduce the costs on claims by submitting as much information as possible prior to the first hearing. The itemized payroll for the year prior to the accident, for example. That information will be required on all claims with significant lost time (more than a week) and a substantial percentage of all adjournment is to “obtain a payroll prior”. [WCx]
 
 
The above suggestion can reduce hearing costs by 10-20% on a claim. Many other suggestions can do the same, but that should do for a start.
 
 
 
Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. medsearch7@optonline.net


 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

buy Pepcid online
Buy Metformin online
Buy Lexapro online

Reasons Employers Should Attend All Workers Comp Hearings

While this article applies specifically to New York, the concepts are applicable in every state. Attendance at hearings supports the employee and gives the employer a whole new perspective of the situation.

When the NY comp law  was passed in 1914 hearings were held only when there were unanticipated problems to resolve. Other than a hearing officer (then called a “referee”) the only people to attend were the employer and the employee. If an award was made , the employer often paid it on the spot, in cash.

Gradually, that all changed.  Today the hearings are attended by the employee, a carrier’s representative (often an attorney), perhaps an attorney for the employee, a law judge and a stenographer. But rarely an employer.

Employers are almost never  seen unless they are called to testify in a contested claim – hardly a pleasant introduction to a system that one employee in thirty encounters every year. Yet employers are not barred from attending.  And why should they be since in truth, they are the only ones paying, through premiums, for everyone and everything seen at a hearing?

So, what reason, other than curiosity,  would an employer have for being at a hearing?  The presence of the second most important party to a claim, the employer, forces all other persons present to behave in a far more professional manner and produces faster and more accurate adjudications. This is precisely why many persons prefer the lax, informal setting when the employer is not present.

The most important service  the employer can provide is support for a valued worker in a time of need. Often the employer’s presence can bring to a halt an unwarranted contest of a claim before it becomes entrenched. The employer makes an impression on the law judge that is dangerous to ignore.

The knowledge gained  by going to hearings will result in far less disruption to the workplace in future hearings. Without occasional attendance the employer is inviting higher comp costs, at least, and deadly misunderstandings. Listening to a person, often a worker, trying to describe their experiences in the comp system will make little sense  without actual knowledge of the process.

In 1993 an FBI agent  in the New York City office was assigned to create an insurance fraud unit and wanted to know how to learn the essentials of the work comp process as accurately as possible. He was told to dress in casual clothes, bring a newspaper and sit in the area where the workers were waiting for their hearing to be called. After two hours he agreed that he was unlikely to learn that much in any other way. 

Attorney Theodore Ronca   is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100.

WC Cost Calculator www.ReduceYourWorkersComp.com/calculator.php REAL COST of work comp.
WC 101 www.ReduceYourWorkersComp.com/workers_comp.php for the basics about workers comp.

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws are different. Consult with your corporate legal counsel before implementing any cost containment programs.

©2008 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

Professional Development Resource

Learn How to Reduce Workers Comp Costs 20% to 50%"Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%"
Lower your workers compensation expense by using the
guidebook from Advisen and the Workers Comp Resource Center.
Perfect for promotional distribution by brokers and agents!
Learn More

Please don't print this Website

Unnecessary printing not only means unnecessary cost of paper and inks, but also avoidable environmental impact on producing and shipping these supplies. Reducing printing can make a small but a significant impact.

Instead use the PDF download option, provided on the page you tried to print.

Powered by "Unprintable Blog" for Wordpress - www.greencp.de