Experienced NY workers’ comp attorneys explain how the new process works
Having an experienced, New York workers’ compensation lawyer representing you used to be a challenge in many parts of New York State. Now, no matter where you live in New York, if you get hurt at work, you can be represented by a topnotch, New York workers’ compensation lawyer. That’s because the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board now offers “virtual hearings” for injured workers. That means you can now have an experienced, New York workers’ compensation attorney representing you no matter where you live in the state, whether in Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester or the Bronx.
The award-winning, New York workers’ compensation attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP Attorneys At Law applaud this development. We believe this new system will benefit all injured workers. Our New York law firm has more than 80 years of experience representing injured workers throughout New York City and the Capital Region. Now, our venerable firm can offer legal advocacy to all injured workers in New York State, thanks to virtual workers’ compensation hearings.
Virtual hearings offer efficiency in workers’ compensation hearings
Traditionally, hearings with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board required injured workers, attorneys, and other parties to travel and endure long wait times for hearings that sometimes lasted only a few minutes.
A new, innovative way for attorneys to represent clients is being implemented statewide, and in all district offices of the Workers’ Compensation Board. There are only a few exceptions – particularly hearing locations with technical challenges. They’re called “virtual hearings.” They allow parties involved in a workers’ compensation case – including attorneys – to attend a hearing at the New York Workers’ Compensation Board through a video conference.
Virtual hearings were initially piloted in the Capital District Office in Menands in November 2017. They are now available at all Board locations except for Newburgh and Allegany.
In parallel with the rollout of virtual hearings, the Workers’ Compensation Board no longer utilizes live hearing reporters to transcribe live hearings. Hearings will now be recorded digitally, which all parties may listen to after the hearing. Moreover, the recordings will not be transcribed into written minutes to be utilized by Law Judges or other parties unless an appeal is taken. Judges must now rely on the recordings during the decision-making process.
Virtual hearings app provides convenience
In addition to this new development, all parties may now attend hearings remotely through a free app implemented by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. The WCB video hearing conference app is easy to use and can help guide users through the claims process. It allows multiple users from different locations to be logged on to the system at the same time. It’s the first of its kind, and developed in partnership with the Office of Information Technology Services. In addition, users can benefit from the following:
- Save a great deal of time simply by signing in electronically and have their information saved in the system for quick future access.
- Manage their hearing schedules or remove hearings that may have been entered incorrectly.
- Avoid long-distance traveling for hearings that may only be a few minutes long.
- Speed up the claims process.
- They can still use other apps on their devices while waiting for a hearing and will receive an alert when it’s time to join a hearing.
- Injured workers may save money on some attorney fees.
This new technology was announced in January 2019 by the Board Chair Clarissa M. Rodriguez. “This will help injured workers not just here in New York, but in other parts of the country as well, by removing the burden of travel, which can be treacherous this time of year,” she said in a statement.
The WCB VHC app not only benefits injured workers but frees up a great deal of time for workers’ compensation law firms. Historically, attorneys in New York State had to spend large amounts of time traveling and attending hearings. By utilizing the app, workers’ compensation attorneys can now focus their time and attention on representing injured workers throughout New York State.
How workers’ compensation virtual hearings work
How do you know if you’re eligible for a virtual hearing? When you receive your hearing notice, you will see “Virtual Hearing Available” on the lower left side of the page, just above your hearing ID.
You may attend a virtual hearing by either using the app or by taking the following steps:
- Enter your personal information such as your hearing ID, first name, last name, and email address, then select continue
- Select your role in the hearing
- Wait until your hearing is called
Requests for Digital Audio Recordings of the hearings can be requested by eligible parties by emailing DARMinutes@wcb.ny.gov. You must provide the claimant’s name, the WCB case number, and the hearing date. Requests can only be made by the following people:
- Parties of interest in the case
- Parties deemed by WCB to be eligible for access
- Parties named in WCL complaint authorization
In order to request a recording, you must provide the following:
- WCB case number
- Last 4 digits of Claimant’s social security number
- The carrier case number
- The date the injury occurred
- Attorneys must provide date of retainer
In order to access a Digital Audio Recording, parties of interest must utilize the Free Liberty Court Player, which can be downloaded here.
You may find more information regarding NYS Workers’ Compensation Board virtual hearings here.
Have any questions? Contact our law firm today
If you have any questions regarding your workers’ compensation case, or need to file a claim, contact our law firm to discuss the details of your case. The esteemed attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP Attorneys At Law have decades of experience and we would be honored to represent you, no matter where you live in New York State.