Workers’ compensation insurance is intended to protect employers and employees in the unfortunate event of a workplace accident. When you get hurt while working in New York City, the law provides you coverage under the workers’ compensation system to help you afford your injuries, lost wages, and other damages.

temporary partial and total disability

If a workplace accident leaves you disabled, the coverage you’re able to receive depends on the type of disability. Knowing the difference between partial, total, and temporary disability is crucial to your workers’ compensation case. This determination directly impacts the total benefits you’ll have at your disposal to pay medical bills, cover lost wages, and continue receiving the care you need to recover.

If you were disabled in a work-related accident in New York, get help from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Call The Weinstein Law Group today at (212) 741-3800 or contact us online. We can set you up with a free consultation to go over the details of your workplace accident as soon as possible.

Partial vs. total disability

The terms “partial” and “total” refer specifically to the wage-earning capacity of the injured person. If your injury has left you unable to return to work at all, your disability is total, meaning your ability to earn a wage has been totally eliminated for the duration of the injury.

If your injury does not totally keep you from returning to work, but you are not able to do the same level of work as before, your disability is partial.

The distinction between these two types of disabilities affects the level of coverage a victim of a workplace injury can expect to receive. When your doctor describes your disability as total, you may be eligible to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage for as long as the disability remains total.

When your disability is partial, your benefits are usually equivalent to two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage before your injury and the average weekly wage for any work you’re able to find with your partial disability.

In many cases, even with a partial disability, finding temporary and accommodating work may not be possible. If you’re unable to find work that you’re able to perform with your partial disability with a previous employer, you may be eligible for the same two-thirds of your weekly average wage that a total disability would warrant.

Temporary vs. permanent disability

The difference between a temporary and permanent disability is an important distinction to know when dealing with the New York workers’ compensation system.

  • Temporary Disability – The victim’s inhibited ability to earn a wage is not expected to last longer than the time it takes for the injury to heal.
  • Permanent Disability – The victim’s inhibited ability to earn a wage is expected to last for the rest of their lives.

Many states only offer workers’ compensation coverage for permanent injuries. In New York, short-term or temporary disability is an option for any work-related injuries that prevent a worker from earning a wage while they are recovering.

If your injury has reduced or completely eliminated your ability to earn a wage, you may be eligible to collect workers’ compensation, even if you’re expected to fully recover sometime later.

Schedule loss of use and non-schedule

In permanent partial disability cases, where a work-related injury victim permanently loses some portion of their wage-earning potential, there are two types of benefits that may come into play: Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) or Non-Schedule.

Once your healthcare provider determines that the recovery period is over and you’re at the point of maximum medical improvement (meaning you won’t get any better, no matter how much time passes,) the compensation you will receive for your permanent disability is determined according to NY law.

In schedule loss of use cases, a worker has lost the use of one of the following due to a workplace injury: arm, hand, wrist, finger, shoulder, leg, knee, ankle, foot, toe, hip, vision, or hearing.

For example, if an employee loses their pinky finger and has to miss work for two months during recovery, they might be awarded temporary partial disability for the time spent in recovery (two-thirds of the average weekly wage for two months,) followed by a lump-sum payment for the permanent loss of limb.

Here are the maximum number of weeks compensation may be awarded in the case of certain SLU compensation claims:

  • Arm loss, 312 weeks
  • Leg loss, 288 weeks
  • Hand loss, 244 weeks
  • Foot loss, 205 weeks
  • Thumb loss, 75 weeks
  • Pinky loss, 15 weeks
  • Eye or vision loss, 160 weeks
  • Big toe loss, 38 weeks
  • Non-big toe loss, 16 weeks

In non-schedule instances of permanent disability, another injury was sustained not covered in the SLU awards. Injuries to the brain, lungs, spine, heart, other internal organs, or any permanent disability that’s not related to a body part listed under the Schedule Loss of Use description would have their severity based on the worker’s permanent loss of earning capacity.

If the injury occurred on or after March 13, 2007, the benefits you are eligible for are based on the percentage of earning potential your permanent disability has taken from you. From 525 weeks of workers’ compensation for a wage-earning capacity loss of 95% or above to 225 weeks of workers’ compensation for a wage-earning potential loss of 15% or less.

Get help with your workers’ compensation fight

If you’re struggling to get your needs met by the workers’ compensation system, schedule a free consultation with a New York workers’ compensation attorney. Depending on your circumstances, you may be offered far less than your injuries require, and having an experienced legal team on your side can boost your chances of a favorable outcome.

Call The Weinstein Law Group to schedule your free, no-risk consultation today. We’ve been helping New York’s injured workers for decades, and we can help you too. Contact us at (212) 741-3800 or contact us online to get started today.

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Steven M. Weinstein