On certification to the Superior Court, Appellate Division.
For affirmance -- Chief Justice Wilentz and Justices Clifford, Schreiber, Handler, O'Hern and Garibaldi. For reversal -- None.
We granted certification, 95 N.J. 204 (1983), to decide how to compute a workers' compensation award for over 180 weeks. Petitioner received an award for 100% loss of his right eye (200 weeks), and 3% partial permanent disability (18 weeks). There is no dispute as to the extent of the injury, only the computation of the award. The employer argues that the award for 200 weeks should be divided, so that the first 180 weeks are compensated in accordance with the sliding scale of N.J.S.A. 34:15-12(c), and the last 20 weeks at the statutory rate of 35% of statewide average weekly wage (SAWW). The employee contends that all 200 weeks should be compensated at 35% of SAWW. The compensation court agreed with the employee. The Appellate Division affirmed for the reasons stated in Gothelf v. Oak Point Dairies of N.J., 184 N.J. Super. 274 (App.Div.1982). We affirm.
The Disability Wage and Compensation Schedule of N.J.S.A. 34:15-12(c) in effect at the time of this accident provided, in part:
Weeks of Allowable Maximum Weekly Compensation
175-180 weeks $49 for the first 96 weeks
then $51 for the next 6 weeks
then $54 for the next 6 weeks
then $56 for the next 6 weeks
then $59 for the next 6 weeks
then $61 for the next 6 weeks
then $63 for the next 6 weeks
then $66 for the next 6 weeks
then $68 for the next 6 weeks
then $70 for the next 6 weeks
then $73 for the next ...