Unfortunately, accidental injuries at the workplace do happen and can be detrimental to a person’s ability to continue performing that work. Having suffered such an injury, the injured person may be eligible to workers’ compensation benefits and/or awards. If an injured employee is entitled to compensation, the type of injury received will determine what types of benefits the injured worker may be eligible for. Persons with permanent injuries to extremities such as the arms, legs or face may be eligible for Scheduled Loss of Use (SLU) awards. Persons with permanent injuries to non-extremities such as the back, head, or organs may be eligible for Non-Schedule Awards
Eligibility for a SLU Award
Eligibility for Schedule Loss of Use Awards are available when a medical professional has determined that maximum medical improvement has been reached and there is permanent injury resulting in the decreased functional ability and range of use of the body part(s).
In New York State a workplace injury to specific body parts(s) may result in eligibility for additional benefits upon reaching permanency. Each body part listed below has a predetermined amount of time (in weeks) you may receive additional benefits for, this schedule is set by law. In instances where multiple extremities are injured permanently, SLU Awards are most often determined separately.
Body Parts Included In Schedule Loss of Use Award
- Upper Extremity Injuries include: Shoulder, Arm, Hand, Wrist, Finger
- Lower Extremity Injuries include: Hip, Leg, Knee, Foot, Toe
- Additional Extremities include injuries to: Face, Eye (Vision), Ear (Hearing)
- See a list of the maximum weeks of compensation per body part here: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/Workers/ScheduledLossUse.jsp
The percentage of loss opinion made by the treating doctor is used to calculate the amount of compensation received. This will need to be filed with the board for review. In many cases, the insurer’s doctor and the injured employee’s doctor will not agree upon the percentage of loss, resulting in the need of a hearing to resolve the dispute. We at Erwin, McCane and Daly highly recommend that you seek the aid of an experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney to assist in the litigation of such a dispute.
How to calculate a SLU Award
The award received will be determined by a “schedule” set by law. This schedule utilizes the maximum number of weeks of compensation for the specific body part and takes the severity of the injury (percent loss of use determined by your doctor) into account to determine the number of weeks you are allowed to receive compensation for.
Your workers’ compensation rate multiplied by the number of weeks you are allowed compensation gives the total amount.
The maximum compensation for a leg injury is 288 weeks and the board determined you have 25% use of your leg. The number of weeks you are able to receive compensation for is 72 weeks. If you earned $800 per week and your workers compensation rate was two-thirds your weekly pay, you would be entitled to $38,399.76.
- If benefits had already been received, those would be deducted from the total amount.
- If the injury worsens, you may be entitled for additional awards.