The Court of Appeals, in a full-fledged opinion addressing two cases by Judge Cannataro, over an extensive dissent in each case, determined that, under Workers’ Compensation Law section 15, a subsequent injury to the same body “member” may be fully compensable, notwithstanding a prior injury involving the same body “member:”
The common issue in these appeals is whether, under Workers’ Compensation Law (WCL) § 15, a claimant’s schedule loss of use (SLU) award must always be reduced by the percentage loss determined for a prior SLU award to a different subpart of the same body “member” enumerated in section 15. We hold that separate SLU awards for different injuries to the same statutory member are contemplated by section 15 and, when a claimant proves that the second injury, “considered by itself and not in conjunction with the previous disability” (WCL § 15 ), has caused an increased loss of use, the claimant is entitled to an SLU award commensurate with that increased loss of use. .Matter of Johnson v City of New York, 2022 NY Slip Op 02579, CtApp 4-21-22
Practice Point: A schedule loss of use (SLU) award for injury to a body “member” need not be reduced based on a prior SLU award for injury to the same body “member” if the claimant proves the second injury has caused an increased loss of use.