How much will I get paid for my workers comp case? This is the most common question I get asked as a New York Workers Compensation Lawyer!
The answer for you will depend on a number of different factors such as:
There are essentially two categories of cash benefits that are paid out in a New York workers compensation claim: temporary lost wage benefits and permanent disability benefits.
In this video I’m going to break down what each of these are and how they’re calculated so you can get an idea of what your case might be worth… and stick around to the end for a tip on how you can maximize how much you get paid.
My name is Rex Zachofsky and I became a New York workers compensation lawyer 17 years ago after getting injured on the job. If you’re looking for a lawyer to help you with your claim with New York Workers Compensation Benefits, please give me a call at 212-406-8989 to schedule a free consultation.
The first thing we’re going to look at is how Temporary Lost Wage Benefits are calculated. These are cash benefits to replace part of your lost income as a result of your work related injury or illness.
To calculate these benefits you first need to know your Average Weekly Wage.This is the average of your wages over the last 52 weeks. It’s calculated based on your gross wages—not your take home pay—and this calculation does include overtime!
So let’s say you make $25/hour and over the last 52 weeks you worked an average of 36 hours a week. Your Average Weekly Rate would be $900.
The next piece of information you need is called your Degree of Disability. This is a medical determination that reflects the extent of your injury and your reduced capacity to earn wages.
If your injury results in you being totally disabled and unable to work, your degree of disability would be 100%. Anything less than a total disability is called a partial disability, and could include determinations such as slightly disabled at 25% to substantially disabled at 80%.
Once you have your Average Weekly Wage and your Percentage of Disability, you can calculate the amount of your weekly benefits.
The formula used is:
So for example, if your average weekly wage was $900/week and your doctor says that you’re 100% disabled until you recover it would be:
One thing to note, there is a cap at a maximum weekly benefit allowed, which is adjusted each year on July 1st. Currently that amount is $1,125.46.
I’ll include a link to the schedule of maximum weekly benefits in the description below.
If after treatment it’s determined that your work-related illness or injury has resulted in a form of permanent disability then you can receive ongoing benefits or a payout.
If a doctor evaluates your condition and says that you’re permanently 100% disabled, then you’ll receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage on an ongoing basis.
But if you have a permanent partial disability then there are two different ways benefits are awarded in New York, depending on the type of injury.
The most common is called Schedule Loss-of-Use awards, these are for injuries to your extremities, eyes, ears, or face. This type of benefit is based on the percentage disability and your average weekly wage, as well as the body part that was injured.
New York Workers’ Compensation Law lists the maximum number of weeks of benefits you can receive based on the body part you have permanently injured. This maximum number of weeks is multiplied by your percentage disability to give you the duration of weekly benefits you're entitled to. This is then multiplied by two-thirds your average weekly wage to get your total benefit award.
For example, let’s say a worker with an average weekly wage of $900, loses 25 percent of her arm’s function. The maximum number of weeks for an arm is 312 multiplied by 25% gives your duration of benefits equal to 78 weeks. Then two-thirds times her average weekly rate of $900 equals a weekly benefit amount of $600. And 78 weeks times $600 a week equals a total award of $46,800.
Non-schedule awards are for injuries not covered by Schedule Loss-of-Use such as to your spine, pelvis, lungs, heart, or brain. These awards are two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury average weekly wage and your current earning capacity.
The maximum number of weeks you receive these benefits is then determined by New York Workers’ Compensation Law and is based on the percentage of loss in wage earning capacity. I’ll include a link to this table in the description below.
As an example, if your average weekly wage was $900, and now your current earning capacity is $300/week, that’s a difference of $600, and two-thirds of that is $400. And because you lost 67% of your earning capacity, New York law says you will receive that benefit for no more than 375 weeks.
A lot of people think that when they first get hurt, they need to stay away from work for a long period of time in order to show how injured they are and maximize the award they eventually receive, but the opposite is actually true.
The extent of your injury will always be determined by a doctor, not how long you are away from work!
The amount of temporary weekly benefits you receive are eventually deducted from any permanent disability award, which means the longer you’re away from work, the less money you’ll make.
For example, if your injury comes out to be worth $50,000 and you were out of work for 10 weeks and you got paid $1,000/week, that $10,000 is going to get deducted out of your payout, leaving you with $40K.
But if you only took ONE week off of work, you got paid $1,000 from worker's comp for the one week of lost time, then at the end you get paid out $49K.
A lawyer can not only help you to navigate these different options, but also go to bat for you against the insurance company to make sure you get awarded as much as possible. So if you or a loved one have been injured on the job here in New York and would like to set up a free consultation, give me a call at 212-406-8989 today.
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⚠️ Link to Schedule Loss Of Use table for Maximum Possible Weeks of Compensation: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/Workers/ScheduledLossUse.jsp
⚠️ Link to Non-Schedule Award table for maximum number of weeks: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/Workers/AwardLossUsePermDisability.jsp
⚠️ Link to Lost Wage Benefits calculations: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/Workers/LostWageBenefits.jsp