Posted Oct 2015
For a number of important reasons, our society needs to determine an age of majority. Yet, there is no uniformity, and the New York Workers’ Compensation Law (WCL) adds a different age into the mix: 25.
WCL §14(5) reads “[i]f it be established that the injured employee was under the age of twenty-five when injured, and that under normal conditions his wages would be expected to increase, that fact may be considered in arriving at his average weekly wages.”
As tempting as it may be to read that language in broad terms and apply it to both temporary and permanent benefits, WCL §14(5) permits the Workers’ Compensation Board to consider future wage expectancy only when calculating awards for permanent partial disability and not temporary disability. Williams v. Key Serv. Corp. 257 AD2d 778 (3rd Dept. 1999).
So what does this mean for you? These rules do not mean that your initial lost wages due to a work-injury will be paid at a higher wage because you were younger than 25 on the date of your accident. Since minor’s wage expectancy only applies to permanent disability benefits, you will note the increase in the average weekly wage only in the event of a schedule loss of use award or a permanent partial disability classification, which typically will not occur until at least one or two years after your accident or surgery. If you’ve had surgery or are experiencing a disability that is lasting two years or more, it is important that you discuss minor’s wage expectancy with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. You may need to gather specific evidence, particularly if you are a full-time student who gets injured at a part-time job and your injury results in permanency.
Call Zea Proukou PLLC for assistance with all your workers’ compensation and social security needs.