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Potential laws would expand treatment under workers' compensation

New York workers who were injured on the job will have many concerns as they seek treatment and try to recover. Lost wages, medical expenses and long-term problems are often worrisome. Workers' compensation is designed to provide these injured workers with a variety of benefits to let them concentrate on returning to full health. If they cannot recover fully or are unable to do the same job they did before, there are benefits for that as well.

There are often limitations to the types of treatment that workers can get, when a workers' compensation filing can be made and the injuries that can be covered. Keeping track of potential legal changes to the benefits provided can be useful. A series of new proposals were put forward by New York lawmakers.

These are designed to change the workers' compensation laws. For some workers, post-traumatic stress disorder can limit or prevent their ability to work. It is common in first responders. The new proposal would let these workers get benefits for PTSD, even if it is not shown to have come about because of job-related issues.

Another bill says that workers who were injured when being victimized in a sexual offense with an employer showing negligence in taking steps to keep the worker safe can get workers' compensation benefits and damages for that. There is also a proposal that timely and efficient treatment for injured workers be changed to help them.

The Workers' Compensation Board would be granted greater authority in resolving medical disputes between workers and employers. An important proposal for workers who were unable to work is that those who did not refuse a job from the employer will no longer be categorized as withdrawing voluntarily from the labor force. Finally, a bill states that employees would be authorized to receive acupuncture under workers' compensation.

These new proposals are in the beginning stages of becoming law. If some or all are adopted, there would be significant changes to the workers' compensation process and the benefits a worker can receive. Although the changes have not yet been implemented, this shows how complex and difficult workers' compensation cases can be.

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