Montemaggi Law - Workers Compensation Attorneys


01 Dec 2014

Schedule loss of Use Benefits Under Attack

Posted by Paul J. Antonowicz
In March 2007, the Worker's Compensation Law in New York was dramatically altered. These changes placed a limit on permanent disability benefits for injuries where no such cap existed before. In exchange, payment rates were significantly increased. There were also changes to how medical treatment is delivered with the introduction of Medical Treatment Guidelines in the years since 2007. All indications are that these changes have lowered Workers' Compensation insurance rates in the state and saved businesses money which was one of the goals of the reform. At the same time, while benefits are no longer potentially lifetime for partially disabled claimants, many have benefited from the increased payment rates and many have been able to settle their cases more easily (and sometimes for higher amounts) than before the 2007 changes because the value of cases is so much clearer. However, this is apparently not enough for many in the business community. They have complained that the amounts in cases involving the other kind of permanent disability are "out of control" because of the increase in payment rates and have set their sites on eliminating or drastically reducing the amounts of these awards. (If you don't know what a schedule loss of use is, please review the Workers' Compensation section of this website.) They claim that because maximum payment rates have gone up, the schedule losses of use have become too expensive. However, I have not seen them produce any statistics or other proof that there has been any dramatic increase in the overall amounts of these payments. Plus this claim does not quite ring true given what has happened with insurance premium rates. I would encourage everyone, whether or not you have had an injury at work, to contact your State Senators and representatives and tell them to resist any further reduction in Worker's Compensation benefits. Even if this issue doesn't impact you directly today, you or friend or child or parent or other family member could have a devastating injury at work tomorrow. These rights are important to protect for everyone. Paul Antonowicz