Monday, April 17, 2017

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Workers Protection Coalition finds language barrier in Workers Comp cases

NEW YORK – A study by the Workers Protection Coalition found that of 500 Workers Compensation Board hearings observed, those dealing with persons with limited English language proficiency, provided inadequate services.

The study found that not all persons in need of interpretation received it and for those who did, it was often sub-standard. Those translation services were often provided by telephone, not in person and often, not provided during the full hearing.

Katie Deabler, a staff attorney for the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, whose group is a member of the Workers’ Protection Coalition, said a full understanding of the proceedings is extremely important for those seeking compensation for an on-the-job injury.

“What is determined at these hearings is whether people are going to get medical treatment, whether they are going to receive lost wages, the level of benefits that they will get for becoming disabled after they are injured on the job,” she said. “These have a huge impact on working families and their financial stability.”

Deabler said when workers cannot understand what is happening at the hearings, they cannot adequately advocate for themselves and do not understand the decisions being made.

The study was conducted in the City of New York, but Deabler said the results represent a problem that exists statewide.


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