You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you have suffered a workplace injury in New York. These benefits are meant to cover medical expenses and lost wages related to your work injury. However, determining the settlement amount you may receive is not always straightforward. This is where workers’ compensation settlement charts come in.
Settlement amounts vary widely based on the details of each case. Factors like the severity of your injury, its impact on your ability to work, and the body part affected all influence settlement values.
This guide examines how New York workers’ comp settlements are calculated, provides real-world settlement examples, and answers frequently asked questions about settlements.
Table of Contents
What is a Workers’ Comp Settlement Chart?
A workers compensation settlement chart is a tool used to estimate the amount of money an injured employee may receive as compensation. These charts list various body parts and medical conditions. For each item listed, a range of potential impairment ratings is given.
Impairment ratings help assess how severely an injury impacts a person’s ability to perform daily tasks. Ratings typically range from 0% to 100%. 0% means no impairment, while 100% signifies total loss of function.
Settlement charts also assign a certain number of benefit weeks to each body part and impairment level. The number of weeks indicates how long you are estimated to receive compensation.
By determining the body part injured, impairment rating, and number of benefit weeks, an approximate payout amount can be calculated.
Here is a simple example:
- Injury = fracture of left arm
- Impairment rating = 13%
- Number of benefit weeks = 150
- Pre-injury average weekly wage = $1,000
The settlement would be calculated as:
13% (impairment rating) x 150 weeks x $1,000 (weekly wage) = $19,500 total settlement
While not an exact science, workers comp settlement charts provide helpful estimates that can give you an idea of what to expect from your case. The actual settlement amount will depend on the unique circumstances of your injury and average weekly wage.
How Are Workers Comp Settlement Charts Determined in New York?
Each state has its own set of workers compensation laws that determine settlement values. New York uses what is known as a “schedule loss of use” system.
The New York Workers’ Compensation Board has created a schedule that assigns a maximum number of benefit weeks to body parts and conditions such as loss of an arm, back injuries, hearing loss and more. The number of weeks assigned depends on the severity of the impairment.
For example, the complete loss of an arm equals 312 weeks of benefits. A 50% loss would warrant 156 weeks of benefits. The benefit week amounts are then calculated as a percentage of the injured worker’s average weekly wage.
Some of the top benefit weeks provided by New York’s schedule loss of use include:
- Loss of arm: 312 weeks
- Loss of foot: 288 weeks
- Loss of hand: 244 weeks
- Loss of thumb: 75 weeks
- Loss of first finger: 46 weeks
- Total loss of hearing: 150 weeks
- Back injury: 300 weeks
New York’s schedule does not assign an impairment rating or number of weeks for every possible injury. In more complex cases, rating doctors will determine the level of impairment and disability duration. Settlement amounts are then based on their medical conclusions.
Average Workers’ Comp Settlements in New York
While every workers’ comp case is unique, looking at average settlements for different injury types can provide a general idea of potential values in New York.
Here are some examples of average settlements based on data compiled by the Workers’ Compensation Board:
- Minor soft tissue back injury: $15,000
- Disc injury requiring fusion surgery: $100,000
- Shoulder injury treated with arthroscopic surgery: $75,000
- Severe burn injuries: $150,000 – $300,000
- Amputated arm: $500,000 – $750,000
- Loss of vision in one eye: $150,000 – $200,000
- Severe TBI with permanent cognitive deficits: $500,000+
- Permanent total disability: $500,000+
Keep in mind that your specific circumstances, including your average weekly wage, will alter settlement amounts above or below these averages. Discuss your individual case details with an experienced NY workers’ comp attorney to determine potential value.
Factors That Determine Workers Comp Settlement Amounts
Several key factors affect the potential value of your New York workers’ comp settlement:
Degree of Disability
The degree of disability caused by your injury is a major determinant of your potential settlement. Disability refers to how much the injury affects your ability to work and earn an income.
- No disability: You can return to your regular job without restrictions.
- Temporary partial disability: You can return to work but have some limitations on your duties or hours.
- Temporary total disability: You are completely unable to work for a defined period while recovering.
- Permanent partial disability: Your injury causes permanent limitations on your work abilities.
- Permanent total disability: You will never be able to return to any type of work.
More severe disabilities warrant higher settlements to account for lost earning capacity.
Type of Injury
The body part injured and type of injury impact potential settlements. Neck and head injuries often lead to higher settlements since they frequently cause permanent disabilities. Serious injuries like amputations or spinal cord damage also typically result in larger settlements. Find out what types of injuries are covered by workers compensation.
Need for Surgery
If your injury requires surgery, especially multiple surgeries over an extended recovery period, your settlement value will likely be greater than a similar injury without surgery.
Lost Time from Work
The amount of time you miss from work while recovering will increase your potential settlement. Even if you can eventually return to your job, extended absences result in more lost wages that need to be compensated.
Permanency of Injury
If your doctor determines your injury is permanent and unlikely to significantly improve with further treatment, this can increase your settlement amount. Permanent injuries more significantly impact long-term work capacity.
Younger injured workers tend to receive higher settlements than older workers, since the injury affects their ability to work and earn income over a longer period.
Permanent Disability Benefits in New York
For serious injuries that cause lifelong impairment, you may be entitled to permanent disability benefits in addition to the weeks listed on New York’s schedule loss of use.
To qualify for permanent disability benefits in NY, you must prove:
- Your injury was caused solely by a workplace accident
- It is classified as a permanent impairment under workers’ compensation guidelines
- It results in a loss of earning capacity of at least 75% compared to your pre-injury earnings
The 75% earning capacity threshold is high, and arriers often dispute claims for permanent disability. Determining the loss of earning capacity also involves a complex calculation.
With an experienced NY workers comp lawyer fighting on your behalf, you stand the best chance of receiving NY’s permanent disability benefits.
Should You Settle Your New York Workers Comp Case?
Deciding whether to settle your workers comp claim with a lump sum payout or opt for ongoing weekly benefits is an important decision. Here are a few key factors to consider:
- How much longer is treatment expected? Settling too early may not sufficiently cover future medical costs if your condition worsens.
- What is your projected recovery timeline? Settling for a lump sum when you expect to return to work shortly may make sense. If you will be out of work for an extended period, ongoing wage benefits may be preferable.
- How severe is your impairment? More serious disabilities may require a lifetime of medical care, making sticking with weekly benefits the better option.
- Does the settlement offer adequately cover future costs? Look at the total settlement amount versus the projected costs for items like medications, assistive devices, accessibility modifications, home care, and more.
- How much is the carrier disputing? If the insurance company is aggressively fighting your claim, settling for a lump sum immediately may be more beneficial than risking a lengthy battle for weekly benefits.
Reaching maximum medical improvement is often a good benchmark before settling your workers comp case for a lump sum. This means your treatment has concluded and your condition has stabilized.
The experienced NY workers’ comp lawyers at O’Connor Law are happy to consult with you regarding the pros and cons of settling your case versus remaining on ongoing benefit payments.
Example Workers Comp Settlement Amounts in New York
To help you better understand how New York’s workers comp system calculates benefits, let’s look at some examples:
Scenario 1: Back Injury
- Injury: Herniated disc requiring spinal fusion surgery
- Impairment rating: 25% loss of back
- Benefit weeks: 75 (25% of 300 weeks for total back loss)
- Pre-injury average weekly wage: $950
- Settlement calculations:
- 25% x 300 weeks = 75 weeks
- 75 weeks x $950 (weekly wage) = $71,250
Total estimated settlement = $71,250
Scenario 2: Shoulder Injury
- Injury: Torn rotator cuff
- Impairment rating: 11% loss of arm
- Benefit weeks: 34 (11% of 312 weeks for total arm loss)
- Pre-injury average weekly wage: $1,100
- Settlement calculations:
- 11% x 312 weeks = 34 weeks
- 34 weeks x $1,100 (weekly wage) = $37,400
Total estimated settlement = $37,400
As you can see from these examples, the weekly wage and percentage of impairment play a big role in determining the potential value of a New York workers comp settlement.
Finding the Best NY Workers Comp Attorney for Your Case
The experienced New York workers’ compensation lawyers at O’Connor Law can help you determine fair settlement estimates and ensure you receive the maximum compensation allowed. We can review your situation and provide guidance on whether settling or retaining weekly wage benefits makes the most sense. Our team knows how to navigate New York’s complex workers comp system to protect your rights.