Once your condition is stable (known as maximum medical improvement), an effort will be made to determine whether you have permanent injury. Generally, this will happen as early as six months, or as late as two years, AFTER your injury or last surgery.

If there is NO permanent injury, no additional lost income benefits will be paid.

If there is a permanent injury, however, you may be entitled to additional lost income benefits. The issue of permanency is usually resolved in one of two ways. You may be classified as having a permanent partial disability [known as a “PPD”]. Alternatively, you may have a “schedule” loss of use [known as “SLU”] award.

There are Medical Guidelines that help your doctor decide whether your injury is permanent and, if so, whether a PPD or SLU is more appropriate. The ultimate decision, however, is made by the Judge. These Guidelines are found at: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/hcpp/mdguide.pdf

SLU Awards

Injuries to an extremity (such as a leg) generally are resolved by a SLU award. Under the Medical Guidelines, if you lose 100% of the use of your leg, you would be entitled to a SLU award of 288 weeks of lost income benefits (paid at the total rate of two-thirds of your Average Weekly Wage but NOT more than the maximum amount set forth in the law). If you have a 50% SLU, you would be entitled to a SLU award of 144 weeks.

Here is a list of the number of weeks of lost income benefits by injured body part if you had a 100% SLU:
  • Arm–312 weeks
  • Leg–288 weeks
  • Hand–244 weeks
  • Foot–205 weeks
  • Eye–160 weeks
  • Thumb–75 weeks
  • 1st Finger–46 weeks
  • Great (Big) Toe–38 weeks
  • 2nd Finger–30 weeks
  • 3rd Finger–25 weeks
  • Other Toe–16 weeks
  • 4th Finger–15 weeks
  • Loss of Hearing One Ear–60 weeks
  • Loss of Hearing Both Ears–150 weeks
The SLU award is REDUCED by the amount of lost income benefits that you received for lost time until the date of the SLU award. Thus, and depending on the ultimate SLU award, little or no money may be paid to you. Under this type of resolution, the SLU award is the entire sum of indemnity benefits paid to you. Under very limited circumstances, you can get more than the SLU award if it takes you a longer time to heal than is expected (these are called “Protracted Healing Period” benefits).

Here is a list of the number of weeks for “normal healing” by injured body part:
  • Arm–32 weeks
  • Leg–40 weeks
  • Hand–32 weeks
  • Foot–32 weeks
  • Eye–20 weeks
  • Thumb–24 weeks
  • 1st Finger–18 weeks
  • Great (Big) Toe–12 weeks
  • 2nd Finger–12 weeks
  • 3rd Finger–8 weeks
  • Other Toe–8 weeks
  • 4th Finger–8 weeks
  • Loss of Hearing One Ear–25 weeks
  • Loss of Hearing Both Ears–25 weeks

Classification/Permanent Partial Disability

Permanent back and neck injuries typically are resolved through a classification. Moreover, there are times when an extremity injury is so severe that a classification is more appropriate.

If you were injured before March 13, 2007, you can receive a weekly lost income benefit for the rest of your life (paid on a biweekly basis). The amount of this weekly lost income benefit depends on the severity or “degree” of your disability.

If you were injured on or after March 13, 2007, you can receive a weekly lost income benefit for a maximum period set forth in the law. The amount of this weekly lost income benefit depends on the amount of “earning capacity” that you lost (which, ironically, is NOT defined in the law).

If you were injured before March 13, 2007, this benefit would stop on your death. If you died from the work-related injury, your spouse and/or other family members may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. If you return to some type of work, this benefit could increase or decrease depending on the amount of money that you earn in your new job.

If you were injured on or after March 13, 2007, this benefit would stop on your death or at the end of the maximum period set forth in the law, whichever comes first. Here is a chart showing the maximum periods depending on your “loss of earning capacity”:

Loss of Wage Earning Capacity Maximum weeks
>95% 525 weeks (10 yrs, 5 wks)
91- 95% 500 weeks (9 yrs, 32 wks)
86-90% 475 weeks (9 yrs, 7 wks)
81- 85% 450 weeks (8 yrs, 34 wks)
76-80% 425 weeks (8 yrs, 9 wks)
71-75% 400 weeks (7 yrs, 36 wks)
61-70% 375 weeks (7 yrs, 11 wks)
51- 60% 350 weeks (6 yrs, 38 wks)
41- 50% 300 weeks ( 5 yrs, 40 wks)
31-40% 275 weeks (5 yrs, 15 wks)
16 – 30% 250 weeks (4 yrs, 42 wks)
15% & under 225 weeks (4 yrs, 17 wks)
For information about how the Loss of Wage Earning Capacity is determined, see our article at https://modicalawfirm.com/loss-of-wage-earning-capacity/ If you died from the work-related injury, your spouse and/or other family members may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits for a period of time. If you return to some type of work, this benefit could increase or decrease depending on the amount of money that you earn in your new job.

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