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How much does Workers’ Compensation pay for lost wages in New York?

Last updated on: August 14, 2023

Workers’ compensation is a fundamental aspect of employment protection, providing essential benefits to workers who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses. In the state of New York, the workers’ compensation system ensures that employees receive adequate compensation for lost wages when they are unable to work due to work-related accidents or occupational diseases. This compensation serves as a crucial lifeline, offering financial stability and relief during the recovery period and allowing injured workers to focus on their health and well-being without the added stress of lost income. By understanding the key provisions and processes involved in New York’s workers’ compensation system, individuals can navigate the complexities and secure the financial support they need during their period of temporary disability.

Sustaining a workplace injury can place a significant burden on you and your family, increasing stress due to escalating medical expenses and the potential decrease or loss of the injured worker’s income. Fortunately, New York laws exist to ensure that these costs can be covered, lost wages are recovered, and disability or other benefits may also be provided if a return to work is not feasible. At K L Sanchez Law Office, our experienced Queens workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping you and your family secure the benefits you deserve. Reach out to us at (646) 701-7990 to arrange a free consultation.

Workers’ Compensation in New York

To better comprehend the workers’ compensation system in New York, it is essential to understand the definition of workers’ compensation, the eligibility criteria, and the various benefits included in such compensation.

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides medical benefits and wage replacements to employees who become injured or ill due to work-related factors. This insurance system is designed to protect both employers and employees.

For employees, workers’ compensation helps them to receive medical treatment, recover a portion of their lost wages, and access vocational rehabilitation services, without having to bear these expenses independently.

For employers, workers’ compensation limits their liability for work-related injuries and illnesses, preventing them from facing potential lawsuits from employees who might seek higher compensation for their suffering. It ensures that the employers are only responsible for providing necessary benefits to the affected workers, and not for their entire life-care expenses.

Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation

To be eligible for workers’ compensation in New York, an individual must meet specific criteria, which include:

  • Employment Status: The person must be an employee as workers’ compensation covers employees, not independent contractors. However, some exceptions apply to certain industries, such as construction and domestic workers.
  • Work-Related Injury or Illness: The injury or illness must have occurred while the individual was performing their job duties or as a consequence of their employment. It is not limited to physical injuries, as it could also cover mental and emotional stress-related illnesses caused by work-related factors.
  • Timely Reporting and Filing: To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the employee must notify their employer within 30 days of the injury or illness. They must also file a claim with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) within two years of the incident.
  • Employer Coverage: The employee’s employer must have workers’ compensation insurance or be an approved self-insured employer in New York State.

It’s worth noting that employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who is at fault for the work-related injury or illness.

Eligibility Criteria for Workers’ Compensation in New York Description
Employment Status The person must be an employee, not an independent contractor. Exceptions apply in certain industries.
Work-Related Injury/Illness The injury or illness must occur while performing job duties or as a consequence of employment.
Timely Reporting and Filing The employee must notify the employer within 30 days and file a claim with the WCB within two years.
Employer Coverage The employer must have workers’ compensation insurance or be an approved self-insured employer.

Types of Benefits Included in Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation benefits in New York can be divided into various categories, which include:

  • Medical Benefits: All reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the work-related injury or illness should be covered by workers’ compensation. This can include hospitalization, surgeries, prescriptions, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost Wage Replacement: If an employee cannot work for more than seven days due to their work-related injury or illness, they may receive wage replacement benefits, which typically amount to two-thirds of their average weekly wage. The exact amount may vary depending on the worker’s degree of disability and other factors.
  • Permanent Disability Benefits: Workers who suffer a permanent disability, either partial or total, due to their work-related injury or illness, may qualify for long-term disability benefits, which can include compensation for lost wages and medical treatment, depending on their degree of disability.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation: If the injured or ill employee cannot return to their previous job, workers’ compensation may provide training, job placement assistance, and other services to help them find suitable employment.
  • Death Benefits: Should a work-related injury or illness result in an employee’s death, their surviving dependents, such as spouse and children, may receive death benefits, which can include funeral expenses and a portion of the deceased worker’s wages.

Understanding workers’ compensation in New York is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities under the law. Knowing who is eligible, the benefits included, and how the system operates can help all parties navigate the process efficiently and effectively.

Calculating Lost Wages Under Workers’ Compensation

Lost wages, an essential component of workers’ compensation benefits, is the money that injured workers would have earned if they were able to continue working as usual.

Lost wages are the earnings that an injured worker misses out on due to their inability to work after an occupational injury or illness. When an employee sustains a work-related injury or illness that results in lost time from work, workers’ compensation benefits come into play to help compensate for the lost income. Payments for lost wages typically depend on the severity of the injury and the worker’s average earnings before the injury.

Factors Affecting Lost Wage Calculation

Calculating lost wages under workers’ compensation involves several factors that determine the amount and duration of the benefits that an eligible worker receives. Some of the key factors considered in lost wage calculations include the worker’s average weekly wage and the percentage of disability resulting from the injury.

Average Weekly Wage

To calculate lost wages, it’s essential to first establish the worker’s average weekly wage (AWW). AWW is typically determined by examining the worker’s earnings in the months leading up to the injury. Depending on the jurisdiction, this could include looking at the worker’s earnings over the past year or a different specific time frame. The AWW generally includes regular pay, overtime, bonuses, and other forms of compensation an employee receives.

Percentage of Disability

The percentage of disability refers to the extent to which the injury or illness has impaired the worker’s ability to perform their regular job duties. The percentage of disability, commonly determined by a medical professional, is an essential factor in calculating lost wage benefits. Injured workers may be classified as having a partial or total disability, and the resulting lost wage benefits are based on this classification.

It is also important to determine whether the worker is expected to recover their ability to work when calculating the benefits they are entitled to receive. Determining whether an injury or disability qualifies as temporary or permanent is crucial in the context of workers’ compensation in New York. 

Temporary Disability Benefits

Temporary disability benefits are provided to employees who are unable to work temporarily due to their work-related injury or illness. These benefits are typically paid for as long as the employee is medically certified as unable to work, up to a certain maximum period specified by state law. Once the employee reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI) or is able to return to work, the temporary disability benefits will cease.

The injured employee needs to stay in touch with their treating physician and the workers’ compensation carrier to ensure they continue receiving their benefits for the appropriate duration of their recovery.

Permanent Disability Benefits

Permanent disability benefits are provided to employees who are unable to return to work permanently due to their work-related injury or illness. These benefits are intended to compensate the worker for their lost earning capacity and the impact on their quality of life.

Here are the main calculations available through workers’ compensation in New York:

  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD): Temporary total disability benefits are provided to workers who are completely unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness. Workers are entitled to receive 100% of the wage benefit, subject to the maximum weekly benefit limit. TTD benefits are meant to cover the period during which the worker is recovering and unable to perform any work.
  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): Temporary partial disability benefits are available to workers who can perform some work but have restrictions or limitations due to work-related injury or illness. TPD benefits are calculated as two-thirds (66.67%) of the difference between the worker’s average weekly wage before the injury and their current earnings while working with restrictions. These benefits help compensate for the wage loss caused by the reduced work capacity.
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD): Permanent total disability benefits are awarded to workers who have sustained a permanent impairment that prevents them from engaging in any gainful employment. PTD benefits are typically paid at the same rate as TTD benefits, the full amount of the wage benefit, subject to the maximum weekly benefit limit. These benefits are designed to provide ongoing financial support for workers with severe and permanent disabilities.
  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): Permanent partial disability benefits are available to workers who have sustained a permanent impairment but can still perform some work. PPD benefits are determined based on a percentage of the worker’s loss of wage-earning capacity. The specific amount and duration of PPD benefits depend on the nature and severity of the impairment and are subject to certain statutory limits.

Accurately calculating lost wages under workers’ compensation requires taking into account individual jurisdictional rules, the worker’s average weekly wage, and the percentage of disability. Consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be beneficial to ensure that all factors are considered and that the injured worker receives the appropriate compensation for their situation.

Frequency of Payments

The frequency of workers’ compensation payments for lost wages is generally based on the worker’s typical payment schedule. In most cases, the benefits are paid weekly or biweekly, which is similar to the regular pay schedule. This ensures that the injured employee continues receiving a steady source of income during their time off from work.

While the frequency of payments may vary depending on the state’s workers’ compensation laws and the specific insurance carrier, the employer or the insurance carrier must pay the lost wage benefits promptly and at regular intervals. Failure to do so may result in penalties for the employer or the insurance carrier, ensuring that injured employees receive their compensation within a reasonable timeframe.

Method of Payment

queens workers compensation lawyer
Queens workers compensation lawyer

The method of payment for workers’ compensation varies depending on the carrier and the individual case. In many cases, the payments for lost wages are made through direct deposit to the worker’s bank account or are provided in the form of a check. The details regarding the payment method should be discussed with the insurance carrier or the employer to ensure a smooth and convenient process for receiving the compensation.

It is also possible in New York for an injured employee to receive a lump sum payment for their lost wages, which can be helpful if the employee has immediate financial needs or if they wish to receive their compensation in a single payment. However, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of a lump sum payment before choosing this option.

How a Skilled Queens Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help

A skilled Queens workers’ compensation attorney can provide invaluable assistance to individuals seeking compensation for lost wages. They possess a deep understanding of New York’s specific workers’ compensation laws and regulations, allowing them to navigate the complex legal process with ease. These attorneys have the experience to guide workers through every step of the claims process, ensuring that all necessary documentation is completed accurately and submitted within the designated timeframes. They also leverage their knowledge to gather relevant evidence, such as medical records and employment documentation, to support the claim for lost wages. Furthermore, skilled attorneys can negotiate on behalf of their clients with insurance companies to secure a fair settlement that adequately covers the lost wages. In cases where disputes or denials occur, they can provide strong representation and advocacy during hearings or appeals. 

If you or your loved one has suffered a workplace injury, we may be able to assist you in securing the rightful benefits you deserve. At K L Sanchez Law Office, our team of experienced Queens workers’ compensation attorneys is dedicated to guiding you through the intricate process of filing a claim. We understand the complexities involved and work diligently to protect our clients’ rights. To take the first step towards obtaining the compensation you deserve, contact us at (646) 701-7990 to schedule a free consultation.

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