Business and insurance groups including the Business Council of New York State have recently advocated for drastic reductions in workers’ compensation awards for “schedule loss of use.” These awards are payable to workers who suffer from permanent loss or loss of use of limbs, vision, or hearing. To justify their campaign, business and insurance interests contend that these awards are now “skyrocketing” as a result of the 2007 legislative reforms.
To the contrary, however, a review of cost trends in schedule loss cases from 1992 through 2015 shows that costs related to these cases were flat from 1992 to 2007. There were moderate increases from 2007 through 2012 that affected an ever-smaller portion of the workforce. Since 2012, however, costs in schedule loss cases have again been essentially flat. The data showing that there has been virtually no change in schedule loss costs for the past four years casts serious doubt on the validity of industry claims.
The WCA has just released a new paper analyzing the data and proving that the schedule loss of use costs have increased less than one-half of one percent in the past four years. You can read the paper here.