How Disabled Are You?

Posted By Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman || 13-Mar-2018

Were you injured on the job or during the course of performing your work-related duties? Or, are you suffering from an occupational disease? If your answer is “yes” to either question and your medical condition is preventing you from working, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim.

The workers’ compensation system is a “no fault” system, meaning injured workers can receive benefits regardless if they were partially or entirely to blame for their injuries. However, workers cannot collect workers’ comp benefits when they sustained their injuries while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or while they were intentionally trying to hurt themselves or someone else.

List of Disability Classifications

If you decide to file for workers’ compensation and you are found eligible, your healthcare provider will examine your medical conditions and determine the severity of your disability. According to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, an injured worker’s cash benefits are directly related to the disability classification assigned by their medical provider.

Disability classifications include:

  • Temporary Total Disability: The worker has totally lost their wage-earning capacity, but only temporarily. The worker’s condition is expected to improve.
  • Temporary Partial Disability: The worker has partially lost their ability to earn money, and only on a temporary basis.
  • Permanent Total Disability: This is the worst possible situation. In this case, the worker has permanently lost their ability to earn money. Such cases do not impose a limit on the number of weeks that are payable.
  • Permanent Partial Disability: A part of the employee’s ability to earn money has been lost permanently. The seriousness of the employee’s disability is evaluated when he or she has reached what’s called “maximum medical improvement,” or MMI, which occurs within two years of the date of the injury. Partial disability benefits depend on the affected body part and the nature of the person’s disability.

The maximum number of weeks (of benefits) a worker is entitled to has to do with where the worker lands on the above list of classifications. For example, if the wage-earning capacity is 15% or less, the worker is entitled to 225 weeks of benefits. On the other hand, if the worker’s loss of earning capacity is more than 95%, he or she is entitled to collect benefits for 525 weeks.

Related: “NY Workers’ Compensation Disability Classifications.”

To learn more about filing a workers’ comp claim on Long Island, contact our firm to schedule a free case evaluation.