The State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division Third Judicial Department ruled in favor of a taxi driver who suffered injuries to his neck, back, right knee and right shoulder in a car crash while on the job.
The driver in April of 2010, filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits regarding injuries to his Neck, Back, Right Knee and Right Shoulder. The Workers’ Compensation Board initially ruled in April of 2016 that stated that he was,
“not entitled to both an award for an SLU and a nonschedule permanent partial disability classification for injuries sustained in the same work-related accident.”
The driver appealed, arguing that the Board made an error when it decided that he could not receive the award and permanent partial disability classification for injuries sustained in the same incident. He argued that compensation for his disability is governed by Workers' Compensation Law § 15 (3), and that even though he had injuries that he could have used to get a nonscheduled disability, he was allowed to elect to pursue a schedule loss of use instead.
For this taxi driver and many other injured workers, the board has been depriving them of their right to compensation for extremity injuries when they have a condition that might lead to a permanent partial disability. You can only collect a permanent partial disability when out of work, you can receive a SLU when working. This driver had gone back to work.
He argued that SLU award values are based on the specific body part that was injured in the accident, and it not affected by the amount of time working that the injured worker may miss, while permanent partial disability compensation is based on the affect the disability can have on the injured worker’s future wage-earning capacity. While an injured worker can only receive one initial award, the taxi driver in this case did not receive an initial award based on his nonschedule permanent partial disability classification, the court decided that he was in fact entitled to both the SLU award and classification award.
All of us here at the Perecman Firm are happy to see that the courts ruled in favor of the injured worker. It’s incredibly important to fight for and continue to expand protections for people injured on the job, a goal our New York City workers’ compensation lawyers are committed to pursuing. If you were injured on the job, give our firm a call at (212) 577-9325 to discuss your options, or fill out our online form to set up a free evaluation.