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The Difference Between Schedule Loss of Use & Settlement

If you or a loved one is severely injured and loses the use of one or more body parts, you may be eligible for schedule loss of use (SLU) awards and other settlements. However, the kinds of monetary awards you may receive can vary depending on the circumstances of your case, the injuries you received, and other factors.

Furthermore, it’s important to know the difference between schedule loss of use awards and settlements so that you can be in the best possible position to maximize your financial compensation. Read on for more information, or contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers directly for a free consultation at 1-516-342-2200.

What Is a Schedule Loss of Use Award?

A schedule loss of use award is a financial payout that injured workers may receive if one or more body parts are permanently injured from a work-related accident. Schedule loss of use awards are important because most workers’ compensation wage benefits are between one-third and two-thirds of a worker’s average wages before they were injured.

As such, in cases of severe injuries resulting in the loss of one or more body parts, an SLU award can help cover the difference.

A schedule loss of use award may be provided on a weekly basis or as a one-time lump sum payment. In either event, SLU awards serve to compensate injured workers for their diminished earning potential due to the functional and/or employment limitations resulting from the loss of a body part.

What Can Schedule Loss of Use Awards Be Made For?

A schedule loss of use award may be allocated for injuries to the following body parts, among others:

  • Arms, including the shoulders and elbows
  • Hands, including the wrists and forearms
  • Fingers and/or thumbs
  • Legs, including the hips and knees
  • Feet, including the ankles
  • Toes
  • Eyes
  • Ears

Additionally, injured workers may be eligible for a schedule loss of use award if they experience significant disfigurement to the face, neck, or scalp.

How Are SLU Awards Paid?

If you or a loved one has already received temporary workers’ compensation benefits, these benefits will be deducted from your schedule loss of use award. Then, any remaining schedule loss of use award money will be paid in one of two ways.

First, you may receive regular workers’ compensation checks until your award is fully paid. Second, you may receive a lump sum payment for your SLU award. Note: this decision is usually made at the hearing to decide whether you will receive SLU payments in the first place.

SLU Award Eligibility

While SLU awards are available to many severely injured workers, not every employee injured on the job is eligible for a schedule loss of use payout. In order to be eligible for an SLU award, an injured employee must meet the following requirements:

  • They must have recovered from their injury(s) to the maximum extent possible.
  • Their doctor must have submitted a medical report that follows the current, up-to-date Permanent Impairment Guidelines. In this report, the doctor must state that the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
  • They must have a permanent loss of function in the injured body part because of the on-the-job injury in question.

For example, if a worker suffers severe injuries to their right arm, leading to its amputation they will be eligible for a schedule loss of use award, as they no longer have functional use of that arm.

To learn more now, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online today!

How Do Doctors Determine Maximum Medical Improvement?

Doctors determine maximum medical improvement by analyzing the injured body parts and testing the injury victim for functionality, such as movement, grasping ability, and more.

If a doctor believes that an injury victim has reached maximum medical improvement, they will submit a medical report to the board that states the victim has reached MMI for the affected body part(s).

In the report, the doctor must include both a detailed examination of the injured body part and state an estimation of the percentage of functionality the accident victim has. For instance, if a construction worker suffers a severe injury to one of their legs and can only move their leg slightly, the doctor might assess the limb as 20% functional or indicate an 80% loss of functionality in the affected limb.

If a victim’s insurer agrees with the SLU percentage, the percentage will be used to calculate a schedule loss of use award or related benefits. Then, if an insurer does not agree with a doctor’s medical opinion, they may schedule an independent medical examination instead.

What Is a Settlement?

A settlement is a final cash award given to an injured worker by the insurance company. Rather than continuing to pay medical or health-related benefits for the injured worker, the insurance company pays one final monetary award before being released from further obligation.

For example, if a construction accident occurs and a worker is injured on the job, they may seek a workers’ compensation settlement for a lump sum award instead of requesting regular payments that are a percentage of their expected weekly pay. They may also do this while levying accusations of fault against their employer.

To prevent a costlier lawsuit or expensive ongoing payments, the construction site owner’s insurance company pays the injured victim a settlement. In this way, both parties do not need to go through a lengthy legal process, but the accident victim still receives the financial compensation they need to pay for past and future medical bills and more.

To speak with a skilled SLU attorney now at no charge, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online and schedule your free consultation today!

Difference Between Schedule Loss of Use and Settlements

There are several key differences between schedule loss of use and settlements.

Advance Payment of Workers’ Comp Benefits

A schedule loss of use award is an advance payment of an injured worker’s workers’ comp benefits. If the same injury causes a worker to lose time from work once more in the future, they will have to use up or wait a certain number of weeks until they are eligible for more workers’ compensation benefits.

As an example, if you are deemed to have a 10% schedule loss of use of your hand, you have to be out of work for (24.4) weeks before you can collect more workers’ compensation benefits. Since SLU awards are often given out as lump-sum awards, it’s important to keep this in mind if you expect regular payments from workers’ compensation in the future.

Medical Care

Additionally, a schedule loss of use award allows injured workers to remain entitled to causally-related medical care for the rest of their lives. As an illustration, an injured worker can still have medical care related to their original injury covered by workers’ compensation payouts or schedule loss of use payouts.

In contrast, if you take a settlement from an insurance company or another party, you will likely waive your right to future financial assistance for medical care from them. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine which type of compensation is worth pursuing. Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-516-342-2200 for more information and a free consultation. It will be our honor and privilege to fight for you every step of the way!

Additional Claims

If you receive a schedule loss of use award, you can typically return and make another claim for lost wage benefits up to eight (8) years after the initial date of your accident. Note: Once you receive a settlement, the court considers the matter resolved, and you are not allowed to pursue further legal action or seek compensation from the same party, even if new information surfaces later on.

Monetary Amounts

Another significant distinction between schedule loss of use awards and settlements lies in the monetary amounts involved. With a schedule loss of use award, you may receive financial compensation in a lump sum, or you may receive it as a weekly benefit, similar to traditional workers’ compensation insurance.

With a settlement, you will typically receive all the damages you are entitled to in a single lump sum payment (though this can also be paid out on a monthly or yearly basis). That said, you should note that the value of either a settlement award or a schedule loss of use award can vary based on the controlling circumstances. To this end, you should speak with your attorney to determine which of these compensation types you should pursue.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

The primary difference between schedule loss of use awards and settlement awards is that schedule loss of use awards are extensions of ongoing workers’ compensation benefits. Settlements represent the end of workers’ compensation benefits. As such, after receiving a settlement, you typically cannot receive more money from the insurance company.

However, receiving both benefits to assure your financial stability can be difficult without knowledgeable attorneys on your side. Schwartzapfel Lawyers is well-equipped and ready to assist with your workers’ compensation or another claim, so contact us today at 1-516-342-2200 for a free case evaluation.

Day or night, rain or shine, we are always fighting for you™!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!


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Understanding Your Schedule Loss of Use Award | Workers’ Compensation Board

What is Workers’ Compensation? | New York Workers’ Compensation Board

Settlement | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

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