Understanding Scheduled Loss of Use Settlements
A Scheduled Loss of Use settlement, or SLU, is a retroactive payment that can be granted to a laborer after their personal physician deems them fully recovered from a work injury. After sustaining an injury, a doctor will monitor your progress until you are declared to have achieved MMI, or “maximum medical improvement”.
The first step in reaching a SLU settlement is determining the injured workers’ average weekly wages. This figure is determined by adding up the amount earned for each of the previous 52 weeks and dividing by 52. The injured worker is entitled to 2/3 of this amount. The next step is confirming which body parts were injured and what value has been placed on each body part according to the schedule printed at Appendix II of the June 1996 Workers’ Compensation Guidelines. This value is quantified in total weeks. The next step is to reach agreement as to the percent loss of use for each body part that was injured. This is the area where an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can make all the difference. The injured workers’ doctor may find a 50% loss of use while the insurance company doctor may find only a 30% loss of use. However, the difference in the settlement value between the two is significant. It requires not only skill and expertise, but also the power to persuade to get the higher percentage of loss of use. The final step is to confirm the amount of time lost from work as a result of the injury which will be deducted from the total settlement. Below is a hypothetical scenario to serve as an example:
Example: Worker A averaged $600 per week in the 52 weeks prior to the injury, and 2/3 of that figure is $400. Worker A injured his right hand in a work-related accident. Appendix II of the June 1996 Workers’ Compensation Guidelines state that a 100% loss of use of a hand is valued at 244 weeks. Worker A’s doctor finds that there is a 50% loss of use of the hand (122 weeks). The doctor for the insurance company finds a 30% loss of use of Worker A’s hand (73 1/5 weeks). Worker A missed 2 weeks from work as a result of the injury sustained. If it is found that there is a 50% loss of use to Worker A’s hand he would receive a total settlement of $48,000 (122 weeks x $400 = $48,800) less the two weeks lost from work (2 weeks x $400 = $800). Had it been determined that the loss of use to Worker A’s hand was only 30% he would have only received a settlement of $28,480.
The example above is meant to illustrate the importance of having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who is skilled in the art of persuasion and negotiation handle your scheduled loss of use settlement.
Contact Kaplan Lawyers PC
If you or a loved one is discussing a scheduled loss of use settlement it is critical to hire the workers’ compensation attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC to advocate on your behalf. The consultation is free but the increase in the settlement amount will be significant.
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