October 1, 2013
What is a Schedule Loss of Use Award?
A Schedule Loss of Use award (known as an SLU) is an additional cash payment. It pays you for an injury that leaves you with less ability in a body part than you had before the injury. If you don’t get back the same level of use in the injured body part, because you now have a permanent disability, you may be eligible for an SLU payment. You can receive this money even if you never missed time from work or if you’ve already returned to work.
You may deserve an award if one or more of these body parts doesn’t fully heal to where it was before the injury.
- Face (Scar)/Neck/Scalp
- Eye (Vision Loss)
- Ear (Hearing Loss)
Body parts may also include the wrist, elbow, shoulder, ankle, knee, and hip. Permanent injury to a body part may include: fractures, amputations, surgeries, tears, dislocations, second and third degree burns, crush injuries and severe nerve damage.
In order to get a schedule loss of use award a doctor’s opinion is needed. Ask your doctor when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. If your injury is permanent, your doctor will state how much less you can use that body part. It’ll be a percentage: 25%, 50%, and so on. The doctor will file that opinion with the Board. The law states how many benefit weeks you’ll receive based on the body part and how much it was damaged (the percentage). You’ll get a certain number of weeks of payment to make up for the permanent injury. The insurance company will take credit against this payment for any money they paid you when you were out of work due to the injury.
Make sure your doctor sends a report to the Board. If your doctor and the insurer’s doctor agree on the amount of loss you suffered, that becomes the number of weeks of payment you will get. If your doctor and the insurer’s doctor disagree, you may have a trial where the doctors will testify and the judge will make a decision, or your attorney may work out a compromise with the insurance company.
If you believe you are eligible for a schedule loss of use it is recommended that you contact an attorney to negotiate with the insurance company or represent you at trial.