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The New York State Assembly and Senate have passed Assembly Bill A1118, which could potentially have major consequences for Workers’ Compensation carriers statewide. The bill redefines a temporary total disability as: “the injured employee’s inability to perform his or her pre-injury employment duties or any modified employment offered by the employer that is consistent with the employee’s disability.” This is a major departure from the current law, which defines a total disability as the inability to do work of any kind.

If the bill becomes law, it will significantly increase carriers’ liability on Workers’ Compensation claims. It seems that total disability would become the default for any periods of temporary disability. It also seems likely that more schedule loss of use cases would result in increased awards for protracted healing periods. Labor market attachment would presumably cease being a viable defense.

At this point, the  governor has until the end of the year to sign the bill into law or veto it. It is currently unclear what the governor’s position is. If passed, the bill would significantly change the Workers’ Compensation Law in a way that will be very unfavorable to employers and carriers. We will continue to track the bill and update our clients with any developments.

– By Nicholas Herubin