Workers' Compensation

New York enacted its workers' compensation statute to address the inequities historically existing among employers and employees with regard to workplace injuries. The New York statute operates on the premise of a tradeoff. Employers assume all liability for injuries arising out of and in the course of employment, regardless of fault. Workers receive limited wage replacement benefits for their loss of earning capacity and are entitled to have all related and necessary medical costs paid. In exchange, employees are prohibited from bringing a lawsuit for personal injuries against their employer.

The City of New York is a self-insurer of its workers' compensation obligations pertaining to all covered City employees. Most City employees are covered for workers' compensation (with the exception of uniformed police officers, firefighters, and uniformed sanitation workers). Also included are non-pedagogical employees of the Department of Education and all employees of the Health and Hospitals Corporation and the City University. The Workers' Compensation Division administers the claims of all covered employees who are injured on the job or incur an occupational disease. The Division strives to provide employees with all the medical and wage replacement benefits to which they are entitled, while objecting to and, if necessary, litigating unwarranted claims.

The Division represents the City and related entities at nearly 15,000 hearings, trials, and appeals before the New York State Workers' Compensation Board in each year.

What New Attorneys Do

The Division represents the City and related entities at hearings, trials, and appeals before the State Workers’ Compensation Board. Division attorneys assume substantial responsibility from the day they are employed. They acquire a broad range of medical knowledge and obtain excellent experience by regularly cross-examining medical and lay witnesses. The Division’s trials involve nearly every conceivable medical condition, including work-related psychiatric diagnoses, respiratory ailments, heart conditions, and orthopedic conditions.  In handling these cases, the Division’s attorneys have the opportunity to learn about a broad array of medical issues while developing their trial skills.

What Summer Interns Do

In the Workers' Compensation Division, interns will participate in all aspects of workers' compensation cases from inception to resolution. Interns will research alleged injuries and help construct the initial theory of the case. They will prepare witnesses for trial and accompany attorneys to the Workers' Compensation Board to hear testimony. They will also prepare memoranda of law to be submitted to the Board. Some interns will have the opportunity to attend arbitration hearings, negotiate settlements with opposing counsel and conduct depositions under supervision.

Read the Law Department's Annual Reports for More Information about the Workers Compensation Division