Workers’ Compensation

New York has had a Workers’ Compensation Law for more than one hundred years. When the law was passed, workers gave up their right to sue their employers for negligence or personal injury. In return, employers agreed to pay workers’ compensation benefits for time out of work and medical expenses. The Workers’ Compensation benefits are the same, no matter who is at fault for the accident. The system is governed by a state agency called the Workers’ Compensation Board.

All New York employers are required to have workers’ compensation coverage. An employer can provide coverage one of three ways. First, they can buy a policy from a private insurance company. Second, they can buy a policy from the New York State Insurance Fund. And third, they can “self-insure” and pay benefits directly. Many municipalities, school districts, and some large employers choose to self-insure. However most of those hire a company called a “third-party administrator” to do the paperwork.

Although it is illegal for an employer not to have workers’ compensation coverage, it sometimes happens. When it does, there is a New York State Uninsured Employers Fund that will pay the benefits.

Legal Editor: Robert Grey, December 2014 (updated June 2019)

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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