New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Partial or total loss of eyesight may affect virtually every area of a worker’s life. Depending on the extent of vision loss, a worker may be limited in his or her abilities or may be unable to do the work he or she did before or even to perform normal, day-to-day activities without help. When vision loss is caused in a workplace accident or is in any other way work-related, an injured worker may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits. Vision loss may also be covered by Social Security Disability, depending on the case.
The team at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC represents workers across New York who are suffering from work-related vision loss. We handle cases involving exposure to light or hazardous chemicals as well as traumatic eye injuries. No matter the circumstances of a worker’s vision loss, we can determine how to seek the workers’ comp benefits he or she deserves. With our experience in this field, along with our resources and our commitment to personalized service, we are confident in our ability to seek the best possible outcome in every workers’ compensation claim we handle.
If you’d like to learn more about our qualifications and your particular rights and options, you can arrange a free case review with a New York workers’ comp attorney at our NYC offices or any of our other locations.
Causes of Work-Related Eyesight Loss
There are many different ways for a person to lose eyesight in one or both eyes, but these typically fall under three main categories when it comes to work-related vision loss:
- Exposure to light, particularly long-term exposure.
- Hazardous chemicals that come into contact with the eye/s.
- Trauma to the head or directly to the eyes, causing damage to one or both eyes. Scarring or disfigurement that affects eyesight may also fall under this category.
Medical Care and Cash Benefits
A person who has suffered loss of eyesight in a work-related incident may be entitled to medical care and cash benefits under the New York State Workers’ Compensation system. The amount and duration of cash benefits will vary depending on the extent of vision loss and how it has affected the workers’ wage-earning capacity.
Schedule Loss of Use Award for Loss of Eyesight
A Schedule Loss of Use Award, or SLU, may be paid to a worker who has suffered a permanent disability. Loss of eyesight may qualify a worker for this type of award, even if the worker did not miss work or has already returned to work. According to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board website:
A Schedule Loss of Use award (known as an SLU) is an additional cash payment. It pays you for an injury that leaves you with less ability in a body part than you had before the injury. If you don’t get back the same level of use in the injured body part, because you now have a permanent disability, you may be eligible for an SLU payment.
Once you have reached maximum medical improvement (you have healed as much as you can, according to your doctor), your doctor can determine to what extent your eyesight has been affected. Your SLU award will vary depending on the extent that your eyesight is affected.
The maximum award for vision loss is 160 weeks of compensation, which is paid at the rate of two-thirds of your average weekly wage. If your doctor determines that you lost 100% of your eyesight, and you used to earn $600 per week in wages, you may be entitled to an SLU award (in addition to your other workers’ compensation benefits) of:
$400 (2/3 weekly wage) x 160 = $64,000
If you lost 25% of your vision in both eyes, your award may be calculated as follows:
$400 (2/3 weekly wage) x 25% of 160 = $16,000
Choose the Right New York Workers’ Comp Attorney
Recovering fair and complete benefits for your workers’ compensation claim is essential if you are suffering from vision loss. Partial or total, loss of eyesight may have a dramatic impact on your work and your personal life. In New York, you may be entitled to medical treatment as well as cash benefits while you are disabled, and a Schedule Loss of Use award for permanent vision loss. These benefits and medical care can make all the difference.