Workers who sustain a work-related injury or illness are entitled to various different types of compensation through workers’ compensation insurance. The most common forms of compensation are medical bill reimbursement and up to two-thirds (2/3s) of lost wages. But there are also awards for injured workers who have a permanent disability that creates some form of physical or functional impairment. This is called a schedule loss of use award and it applies to certain types of disabilities and impairments of extremities, vision, hearing loss, and facial disfigurement. While these awards are given out in the appropriate cases, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in NYC is needed to maximize that award.
This is because the Workers’ Compensation Board and the individual adjusters handling the matter will not offer the full amount right away—or at all. Sometimes it can be a battle to obtain even a half-reasonable schedule loss of use award—let alone the full value that an injured worker is entitled to. As a result, injured workers need to call a compassionate but aggressive workers’ comp law firm like ours at O’Connor Law. Our workers’ compensation lawyers in NYC have a proven track record of success handling WC claims and obtaining a fair and just schedule loss of use award. To learn more about how we can help you, call (844) 692-6671.
A schedule loss of use award is given to an injured worker where he or she has a permanent disability. That disability could be a decrease in physical performance, such as loss of range of motion, loss of strength, or inability to use the extremity in a certain manner. That disability could also be an impairment, such as the inability to use an extremity. Impairments could also go towards the loss of vision or hearing, ranging from a percentage-based loss all the way up to total loss of use (i.e., total blindness or loss of hearing in one or both eyes/ears).
In order to be eligible for a schedule loss of use award, a medical doctor will need to determine that an injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement, known as MMI. In order to reach MMI, an injured worker will need to complete his or her recommended treatment, have sufficient time to heal, and other need to engage in other recommendations from providers such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other types of medical, occupational, or vocational training. An injured worker will also need to have a sufficient amount of time resting and allowing the injury to heal.
Thus, it is rare for a schedule loss of use award to be issued quickly. Some exceptions would include catastrophic injuries such as loss of a limb or loss of an eye, total damage to a nerve (i.e., auditory nerve), or other obvious and clear injuries that will not improve with further treatment or additional healing time.
A schedule loss of use award is determined based on the percentage of your loss of use assigned by a doctor after you have reached MMI. The WC carrier has an opportunity to have you undergo a medical examination by their doctor as well. A percentage of loss of function will be assigned to your injury.
That percentage will then be multiped against the maximum loss of use of function allowed under New York law, which is the following:
After the duration of weeks is determined, it will be multiplied by two-thirds (2/3s) of your average weekly wage to determine a total schedule loss of use award.
A worker suffers a leg injury that his doctor says results in a 40% loss of use. The WC doctor argues that the loss of use is 20%. After negotiation, it is agreed the loss of use is 33%.
The maximum loss of use for a leg is 288 weeks.
This is multiplied by 33%, which calculates to 96 weeks of benefits.
The worker’s average weekly wage is $900, and two-thirds (2/3s) of that is $600.
The total amount of the schedule loss of use award is 96 weeks multiplied by $600 is $57,600.
As you can see in the example, the Board or its adjuster or lawyer will try to argue that you do not have as high as a loss of use. They may also contest your average weekly wages if you were not a salaried employee. These considerations could lower our award quite a bit, which is why it is imperative to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in NYC to represent you for these types of claims.
If you have suffered any permanent loss of use that creates a permanent disability or impairment, contact our experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in NYC to ensure that your rights to full compensation are protected. The carrier will do everything in their power to minimize or argue against your award, meaning you will get less money than you deserve. Do not let that happen to you. Call our workers’ comp law firm to schedule a FREE consultation to learn more about your rights and how we can help you by dialing (844) 692-6671 or by sending us a private message through our “Contact Us” box available here.