New Yorkers who are injured on the job and expect to receive workers' compensation benefits should know about certain aspects of the law. One thing they should be aware of is a Schedule Loss of Use award. This is when a cash benefit is paid to the employee for their lost earning power caused by a permanently damaged body part. To get SLU, it is often necessary to have legal assistance.
To be eligible for SLU, the injuries must occur to the arm, hand, leg, foot, eyes, ears, or cause disfigurement. Eligibility for SLU has certain requirements. They are: the person has recovered as much as possible; the doctor has issued a medical report that adheres to the Permanent Impairment Guidelines with a statement that the person has reached maximum medical improvement; and there is a permanent loss of function in the body part. Any damage to the body part that leaves the person with loss of function is sufficient to get SLU. The person will receive compensation for lost earning power.
With MMI, the doctor will determine how much use of the body part has been lost by the worker. For example, if there is 25% diminished function in a body part, that is the SLU. The insurer might agree with the doctor's assessment. If it does, that will be the percentage used to determine the payments. If the insurer does not agree, an Independent Medical Examiner may be consulted.
There are maximum numbers of weeks for which compensation can be paid under SLU and it depends on the body part that has lost function. The amount is calculated based on the injured body part, the percentage of loss and the average weekly wage. For assistance in understanding and getting SLU or to handle any dispute that might arise, it is important to have legal advice from a qualified workers' compensation attorney.