When it comes time to settle your claim for the loss of use of an extremity it is critical to ensure that you maximize your settlement and also keep the medical protection for life if your injury requires it. A Schedule Loss of Use (“SLU”) comes with medical protection for life, while a Global Section 32 agreement permanently closes your case. Following is a breakdown of how each of these settlements work.
Qualifications for a Schedule Loss of Use.
A “SLU” is only applicable to injured extremities, including a leg, arm, knee, foot, hand, and fingers. It is not applicable to a back, neck, or head injury. Once your doctor has stated that you have achieved Maximum Medical Improvement (“MMI”) it is time to settle your claim.
Insurance Companies Prefer Section 32 Settlements.
Insurance carriers may try to suggest a Global Section 32 because that will provide you with a settlement now while all future medical bills will become your responsibility. The carrier is basically writing you a check and removing any responsibility they may have for your future medical bills, including surgery, therapy, and other associated costs.
For example, you have a 20% permanent loss of use of your shoulder, entitling you to 61.4 weeks of benefits at your weekly rate as determined by your wage. By settling your case with an “SLU”, you will be able to re-open your case anytime later in life if you require another surgery or any type of medical treatment. However, a Section 32 settlement would completely close out your claim, and you will be responsible for all future medical bills.
Keeping Your Case Open with an “SLU” is Beneficial.
The insurance carrier will try to dangle an extra $10k-$15k for a Section 32 settlement, but medical bills will be astronomical should a surgery or any other aggressive treatment be required. A Section 32 agreement is appropriate in cases where any future medical treatment will be nominal and able to be paid out of pocket. Shoulder and knee injuries that have required surgery may require another surgery10-15 years later due to the natural degeneration of the joint. Thus, the medical protection for life is a very valuable and necessary part of the settlement.
Consult with Your Doctor about the Extent of Your Injury.
It is important to contact your doctor and discuss the necessity of future treatment and the costs of such future treatment before settling any claim. Some attorneys may even try to entice you towards a Section 32 settlement because their fees will be more, as the settlement will be more. Don’t be blinded by dollars now because you will be put in a very vulnerable spot in the future.
Consult with Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C.
You cannot trust everything you hear when it comes to trying to decide upon the correct path for you claim. However, at Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., our attorneys will be open and honest with you about every aspect of your case, and we encourage you to be active and engaged along the way. Contact us today by calling 1-877-737-4806 or by filling out our online contact form. Insurance companies may not care about your personal well-being, but Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. will fight for you!