Volunteer Firefighter's and Volunteer Ambulance Worker's Guide to Workers' Compensation Benefits
Hearings and Appeals
The Board may hold a hearing or hearings before a Workers' Compensation Law Judge. The Judge may take testimony, review medical and other evidence and will decide whether the claimant is entitled to benefits. If the claim is determined to be compensable, the Judge determines the amount and duration of the compensation award.
Either side may appeal the decision within 30 days of the filing of the Judge's decision. This is done by applying in writing for Board review. If the application is granted, a panel of three Board Members will review the case. This panel may affirm, modify or rescind the Judge's decision, or restore the case to the Law Judge for further development of the record. In the event the panel is not unanimous, any interested party may make application in writing for a full Board Review. The full Board must review and either affirm, modify or rescind such decision.
Appeals of Board Panel decisions may be taken to the Appellate Division, Third Department, Supreme Court of the State of New York, within 30 days. The decision of the Appellate Division may be appealed to the Court of Appeals.
Note: If a case is being contested, the carrier does not have to pay weekly benefits while the case is being reviewed by a Board Panel. However, payment of compensation and physician's bills must be made if the claimant's award is upheld by the Board Panel, even if an appeal is made to the Appellate Division. In addition, the uncontested portion of a Judge's award is paid even if an application for review is filed.
At any point, the claimant has the right to an attorney or licensed representative, who may not ask for or accept a fee from the claimant. The fee for legal services will be determined by the Law Judge or Board Panel and will be deducted from the award of compensation.
Section 32 Waiver Agreements
A Section 32 Waiver Agreement is
- an agreement between an injured worker and the insurance carrier
- used to settle indemnity and/or medical benefits on a claim
- ends the right of an injured worker to receive future benefits in exchange for a final lump-sum settlement
- is not final and binding unless it is approved by the Workers' Compensation Board
Learn more about Section 32 Waiver Agreements.
Voluntary Binding Review (VBR)
When there is a request for administrative review and the claimant is represented, parties may wish to explore participation in the Voluntary Binding Review program.