When a New York worker is injured on the job, the best-case scenario is that he or she is approved for workers’ compensation benefits, gets treatment, is eventually be fully healed and able to get back to the same type of work as before. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Depending on the injury and its severity, the person could be faced with a situation where they have a permanent impairment. In some case, that does not prevent them from working, but it does negatively impact their earning power. This is when it is important to understand a Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) award.
Facts about a Schedule Loss of Use award
Injuries to the limbs, hands, feet and any area of these body parts can allow a person to qualify for an SLU award. If the person loses vision or hearing or is disfigured, it is also sufficient for SLU. When seeking SLU, the person must show that he or she has recovered to the maximum amount they can. Their doctor will then submit a medical report based on the Permanent Impairment Guidelines saying that there is maximum medical improvement (MMI) and the person will not get any better.
The insurance provider will assess the percentage of loss to the injured body part. If it agrees, it bases the duration of the benefits and its amount on the percentage. If it disagrees, it can have a consultant assess the injured worker or there can be an independent examination.
The Workers’ Compensation Board will look at the reports provided and make its decision on what the percentage will be to determine the payments. The maximum weeks for which a worker will receive SLU depends on the body part that was injured. For example, an arm would warrant a maximum of 312 weeks; a foot 205 weeks; and a thumb 75 weeks. The body part, the percentage of loss and the person’s average weekly wage will be used to calculate how much the worker will receive.
Having professional guidance can be key with workers’ compensation
Injured workers will have a lot to consider. In addition to trying to get the necessary medical care to treat their injury, they will undoubtedly be thinking about how they will make ends meet and what rights they have with workers’ compensation. SLU is an aspect of workers’ compensation benefits that people might not be fully familiar with, but that does not make it any less important. For assistance with this or any other area of workers’ compensation, consulting with experienced professionals who can provide guidance and representation may be crucial.