New York Workers' Compensation is an intricate area of law that is often subject to a number of misconceptions. This site is intended to help readers seeking clarification on the topic of NY Workers' Comp. Whether you are an injured worker lost amidst the complexities of Workers' Comp, a doctor who is not sure how to properly handle a Workers' Comp patient's file, or simply a curious New Yorker who worries about what would happen if you were ever injured on the job, I hope that the content of this site will deliver the answers you seek, even to questions you didn't know to ask.

It is my pleasure to welcome you into the world of New York Workers' Compensation. I hope you enjoy your visit, spread the word, and come back soon.

Best regards,

Camila P. Medici, Esq.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Disability Classifications

As previously mentioned, your doctor will render an opinion regarding how much your work injury disables you.  The Insurance Carrier may disagree, and will likely send you to get an independent medical exam (IME).  The Board will then make a decision based on all evidence presented by both sides.  In the meantime, as unfair as it may sound to you, you can only collect benefits that reflect the Carrier's opinion.

There are several different disability classifications:

TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY: means that you are temporarily completely unable to perform any work.  You are therefore entitled to the full allowable wage benefit.

TEMPORARY PARTIAL DISABILITY: means that you have temporarily lost some ability to work and earn full wages.  You are entitled to receive a percentage of your salary equal to the percentage of disability up to the statutory maximum correspondent to the date of accident.  In this case, you have an obligation to look for work within your medical restrictions and keep a documented work search.  If you do not, then you can be found to have voluntarily withdrawn from the labor market, and lose your entitlement to benefits.

PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY, NONSCHEDULE LOSS: means that you permanently lost some ability to do work.  If you were injured before March 13, 2007, you can collect benefits for life so long as you keep showing that your disability results in wage loss.  If your injury happened after March 13, 2007, you will only be entitled to benefits for a set period of time, at most 10 years.  However, if you have over 80% disability you can be re-evaluated for continuing benefits once your time period runs out.  If you have a change in condition, so long as it is supported by medical evidence, you may be able to re-open your case and apply for re-classification.

PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY, SCHEDULE LOSS: means that you injured your arm, hand, finger, leg, foot, toe, or some other schedulable body part (an extremity), or lost your eyesight or hearing.  The law specifies the number of weeks in benefits you receive for this loss.  This only an appropriate remedy when you were able to return to work quickly and have not lost too much time from work as a result of your injury. 

PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY: means you completely lost your ability to work in any capacity and therefore cannot earn wages.  You are therefore entitled to benefits for life. 

DISFIGUREMENT: for those people whose face, head, or neck are permanently disfigured as a result of the work accident, benefits of up to $20,000 may be awarded depending on the extent of the injury and date of accident.  

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