NY Workers' Compensation Schedule Loss of Use Body Part Values
Suffering an injury at work in New York can cause severe pain, disability, and uncertainty about your ability to continue working. The consequences can feel especially dire when the injury involves the loss of use of all or a portion of a body part.
Depending on the injury and its severity, you might wonder how you will make ends meet. Such situations can lead to questions and anxieties about how you will be able to support yourself.
In New York, workers’ compensation insurance provides financial benefits to employees who suffer injuries on the job, with special provisions for those who lose the use of specific body parts.
The experienced NY workers’ compensation attorneys at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., understand the devastation workers experience when they suffer these disastrous injuries. Our lawyers have an outstanding track record of fighting for injured employees’ rights. We’re ready to work to recover the maximum possible benefits available to you.
Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
About New York Workers’ Compensation Schedule Loss of Use Body Part Values
Under the New York workers’ compensation system, injured workers may be eligible for schedule loss of use (SLU) benefits if they suffer permanent partial disabilities in a work-related accident. SLU provides compensation for permanent impairments or loss of use of certain body parts, such as arms, legs, hands, eyes, fingers, and toes.
The purpose of SLU benefits is to compensate injured workers for how the permanent impairment impacts their future earning capacity. Even after recovering, limitations in using certain body parts can reduce the injured worker’s ability to return to work or earn a similar wage in the future.
New York workers’ compensation law designates a set number of benefit weeks to compensate for each covered body part’s loss or loss of use. The number of weeks depends on the importance of the body part for overall functioning and earning ability.
For example, the loss of an arm has a more significant impact on future earnings than the loss of a finger. Therefore, the schedule assigns more weeks of benefits for the loss of an arm than for the loss of a finger.
The amount paid per week is calculated based on two-thirds of the worker’s pre-injury average weekly wage, subject to a maximum cap that is set by law.
Commonly Evaluated Body Parts
You may receive an SLU award for injuries to any of the following body parts:
- Arms, including the shoulder and elbow
- Hands, including the wrist and forearm
- Fingers and thumbs
- Legs, including the hip and knee
- Foot, including the ankle
- Eyesight (loss of vision)
- Hearing (loss of hearing)
- Disfigurement of the face, neck, or scalp
Calculating Awards Based on Schedule Loss of Use
New York workers’ compensation law assigns percentage values to each body part to calculate schedule loss of use (SLU) awards. For example, an arm is valued at 312 weeks, a hand is valued at 244 weeks, and a thumb is valued at 75 weeks. In other words, if you lose 100 percent of the use of your thumb, you would receive 75 weeks of benefits. For partial loss of use, the number of weeks is reduced proportionally.
The weekly benefit amount is calculated based on two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum set by law. The weekly amount is then multiplied by the number of weeks assigned to the body part, or the percentage of weeks equivalent to your loss of use, to determine the total SLU award.
Examples of body parts and their associated maximum number of weeks include:
- Arm – 312 weeks
- Leg – 288 weeks
- Hand – 244 weeks
- Foot – 205 weeks
- Eye – 160 weeks
- Thumb – 75 weeks
- First finger – 46 weeks
- Second finger – 30 weeks
- Third finger – 25 weeks
- Fourth finger – 15 weeks
- Big toe – 38 weeks
- Other toe – 16 weeks
How Body Part Values Impact Disability Benefits
You will not be eligible for an SLU award until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the point at which further medical treatment will not improve your condition. In the same report your healthcare provider makes advising that you have reached MMI, they will state the percentage of loss of use of the permanently injured body part.
Receiving an SLU award does not prevent you from claiming further disability benefits. If you have multiple body parts or extraordinary circumstances, you could still receive wage-replacement benefits for the duration of your disability.
Any temporary benefits you’ve already been paid will be deducted from the SLU award. You can receive the remainder of your SLU award either in a lump sum or in weekly benefits payments until the SLU is paid out.
Role of Independent Medical Examinations
The workers’ compensation insurance carrier will likely require you to undergo an independent medical examination (IME) to evaluate your injuries. The doctor performing the IME will assign impairment ratings to determine the percentage of loss of use of each affected body part.
It is essential to have experienced legal counsel to protect your rights during an IME. Our attorneys can prepare you for the examination, and we can attend the appointment with you. Afterward, we will scrutinize the doctor’s report to ensure it accurately reflects your impairment levels. If needed, we can contest the findings with additional evidence from your doctors.
How Our Lawyers Help with Schedule Loss of Use Cases
Filing an SLU workers’ compensation claim can feel overwhelming and challenging. Working with an attorney with a thorough knowledge of workers’ comp body part values can optimize your chances of receiving the maximum compensation you deserve.
The experienced NY workers’ compensation lawyers at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., have the experience and resources to gather all the necessary evidence to demonstrate the full extent of your injuries. We are prepared to negotiate aggressively with the insurance company to seek a settlement that fairly reflects your loss of use.
With 40 years of experience, our team has a proven track record of delivering positive results for injured workers across New York. In that time, we have recovered more than half a billion dollars in compensation for our clients, and we are still going strong.
Contact our offices today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.