You asked for it. We got you the hard data.
According to data collected nationwide from 2019 to 2020, the injuries consistently worth the most money are those resulting from motor vehicle accidents averaging approximately $85,000. That's followed by burns and falls, which both average around $50,000 per claim. And the rest of the accidents range from $45,000 down to approximately $25,000.
Please note that for all of these cases, the majority of the costs are medical, with the smaller portion being indemnity or disability payments.
Now those numbers were for the cause of the injury, these next ones are for the nature of the injury. According to the same data, Amputation is by far the most expensive injury sustained, coming to a total average of almost $120,000.
That's followed by fractured, crushed, and dislocated body parts, which are a distant second and about half that amount, with an average claim being worth about $60,000. The rest of the injuries range from about $50,000 all the way down to about $16,000, with occupational diseases and cumulative injuries being worth the least.
Note that minor injuries that get treated without surgery typically settle between $5,000 - $20,000.
And when these costs are separated by body part, injuries to the head and central nervous system are far and away the largest workers compensation cases, averaging approximately $93,000 per claim. After that are injuries with multiple body parts at around $62,000 per claim, which are followed closely by injuries to the pelvis, leg, and neck, all of which share an average cost of about $60,000. From there, injuries to the arm and shoulders are around $50,000. And the remaining body parts range from about $38,000 down to $21,000.
Now, it's important to understand a few things here. First, these are national figures and not specific to any one state. Each state has its own set of workers compensation laws, and the benefits vary from state to state.
You must also keep in mind that each workers compensation case is different, and you can't just look at these numbers and assume that you'll get the same amount listed here. In order to calculate an accurate amount for your specific injury, there are a number of things that you need to take into consideration, which we'll discuss here in just a moment.
But before we do, let's look at data for workers compensation claims above $1 million, which account for about 10% of all workers compensation benefits paid nationwide. Surprisingly, injuries for slip and falls topped the chart at almost 30% of all claims above the $1 million mark. Next are motor vehicle accidents, which account for about 22%. Together slip and falls and motor vehicle accidents make up more than 50% of all claims above $1 million.
When you look at the numbers by body part, accidents resulting in injuries to multiple body parts are unsurprisingly the majority of claims over $1 million. In addition to car accidents, slip and falls often result in injuries to multiple body parts because workers get injured from the initial slip and then again when trying to break their fall. The next body part with the most claims over $1 million are those to the head and brain.
Note that while claims over $1 million make up a significant portion of workers compensation benefits paid out every year, they are only about 0.2% of all claims filed nationwide. Most injured workers do not have a workers compensation claim worth over $1 million. You have to have a severe permanent injury in order to qualify for that level of benefits.
In fact, according to a separate study, the average workers compensation settlement is worth only about $21,800, with the majority of settlements reaching between $2,000 - $20,000. So in order to know if your case is going to be worth more, you need to understand how the value of your claim is calculated, which I'll share with you next.
But first, my name is Rex Zachofsky and I became a New York Workers Comp lawyer 17 years ago after getting injured on the job. If you're looking for a lawyer to help you with your claim for New York State workers compensation benefits, please give me a call today at 212-406-8989 to schedule a free consultation.
Generally, the value of any given workers compensation case boils down essentially to three parts. Those are your wage benefits, your medical care, and the award for any permanent disability which you have suffered. Now here in New York state, benefits don't include things like pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, or punitive damages. So even if your injury has made your life much more difficult, that unfortunately does not add to the value of your claim.
In order to get an idea of how much your case is worth, you need to calculate the value of your wage benefits and your permanent disability. Here in New York State, your wage benefits are calculated by multiplying two thirds of your average weekly wage by your percentage of overall disability. Your average weekly wage is the average of your weekly earnings for the 52 weeks leading up to your accident. Now, note that this is based upon your gross earnings, not your take home pay, and includes things like overtime and tips.
So if you have a $900 weekly wage and you're 100% temporarily disabled, you multiply $900 by two thirds to get $600. That's the weekly wage replacement you can expect to receive while you're totally disabled and recovering from your accident and injuries.
Next, you want to calculate the value of any permanent disability that you've suffered. Here in New York, as well as in most other states, this is determined by the body part that you injured. If you have a permanent partial disability in your arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers, toes, eyes, or hearing that's called a Schedule Loss of Use award.
Schedule Loss of Use awards each have their own value that is determined by the law, with some body parts being worth more and others being worth less. So for instance, 100% permanent disability to your arm is worth a maximum number of 312 weeks of compensation. While a 100% disability to your foot is worth a maximum of 205 weeks.
To do the calculation, you multiply that maximum number of weeks by your percentage of loss of use. So if you injured your arm, for instance, and the doctors agree that you have a 25% loss of use, you multiply that maximum number of 312 weeks by 25% to get 78 weeks of workers compensation benefits. Then you multiply the 78 weeks by two thirds of your average weekly wage, (which in this example was $600) to get a total Schedule Loss of Use award of $46,800.
Now, keep in mind that the insurance company does get to take a credit for any prior payments that you've already received.
But what if you have a disability in a body part that's not listed on the Schedule Loss of Use chart? In New York, we call those Non-Schedule disabilities and they include all other body parts such as the spine, pelvis, heart, lungs, brain. This also includes things like stroke and heart attack.
These benefits are calculated a little differently, and are based upon your loss of future wage earning capacity, which you'll receive from a judge once you’ve physically recovered as much as possible.You can then use the chart provided by the Workers Compensation Board to look up how many weeks of compensation benefits you'll receive.
So for instance, if your future loss of wage earning capacity is 55%, you're entitled to 350 weeks of workers compensation benefits. Your weekly benefits are calculated at 55% of two thirds of your average weekly wage.
Unless your case is settled with a lump sum type of settlement, these benefits are paid out over the length of time equal to the award. So here you would get weekly benefits paid out over 350 weeks.
Once you've made these calculations for your lost time and permanent disability benefits, you can then add them together with your medical costs to get an overall idea of how much your case is worth.
Please note that a lot more goes into the value of your case than just these calculations, which is why it is so important to get a workers compensation lawyer on your case.
The consultation is free. You don't have to pay them any money out of your pocket. And they only get paid if they help you get more money than you would otherwise receive on your own. And on the average, injured workers who hire a workers compensation lawyer get 30% more in benefits than those who don't, making this a no brainer!
If you want to learn more about how to get all the benefits that you're entitled to, watch my other video with six tips to maximize your workers compensation claim. In it I'll explain some of the most important things that you can do to prevent the insurance company from reducing your benefits over the life of your claim. I'll include a link to that video here. Click to watch it next and I'll see you there.
⚠️ Schedule loss of use chart:
⚠️ Non-schedule loss of use chart:
⚠️ NCCI data on workers comp injuries: