Following lengthy litigation, Mike, * a surgeon, was awarded Workers’ Compensation benefits entitling him to payments of $550.00 per week over the next eight-and-a-half years.
Mike was assaulted by a co-worker and suffered injuries to his upper extremities and cervical spine. Due to the nature of these injuries, Mike was no longer able to perform the complex surgeries his job required. As part of his pre-injury job duties, Mike was also required to examine 35-45 patients a day, four days a week. In addition, he acted as a rotating, on-call physician at a local hospital, which became more difficult after the injury.
The effects of the injury reduced Mike’s ability to work. After the injury, he attempted to return to work as a surgeon. However, he soon began to experience numbness, loss of dexterity, and weakness while performing surgery. Mike’s surgical specialty required him to use precise instruments when performing operations, which he could no longer do after the injury. As a result of the injury and his inability to perform surgery, Mike had no choice but to give up his job. After giving up his job, Mike started his own practice, hoping he could work at his own pace.
Insurance Carrier Fights the Case
The insurance carrier disputed the idea that Mike had lost the ability to earn his prior salary and hired a “vocational expert” to try and fight Mike’s case. They argued that Mike could still earn a living working in his previous job and could earn more money than he would by being self-employed.
A firm we work closely with was able to successfully argue that his ability to earn his previous wages was ruined. As he was found to have over an eighty percent loss of wages, Mike may seek additional payments in the last year of his 8.65 year payout. The award also states that the insurance carrier must pay the State nearly $200,000 if the claim is not settled in six months.
This case highlights the fact that regardless of their job, workers in New York State are given protection following serious work injuries. In addition, workers who are injured but can still work can be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. These benefits can include coverage of medical expenses related to the injury and replacement of a portion of lost wages.
* The client’s name has been changed to protect confidentiality.