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Understanding Scheduled Loss of Use Awards under New York Workers’ Compensation Laws

Astoria Queens, Workers Compensation Attorneys

If you have been injured on the job in New York, you have a right to file a claim for benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation program. Generally, if your claim is approved, you will receive weekly benefits based on your average weekly wage and the extent of your injury. However, if you suffer an injury to one of your extremities, you may also be entitled to a cash payment for any permanent damage to that extremity. Such an award is known as a scheduled loss of use, or SLU, award.

Under the workers’ compensation law, extremities are defined to include all body parts other than your head, neck or back. You may be entitled to a scheduled loss of use award, therefore, if you suffer any type of permanent injury to arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet or toes.

Here’s how it works. When your case is finalized (usually around a year after your accident), provided you have reached what is known as “maximum medical improvement,” you can see your doctor and ask to have a report completed that documents the degree to which you have suffered permanent damage to the extremity. Maximum medical improvement essentially means that no additional treatment will improve your condition.

The workers’ compensation laws include a schedule that identifies the payment made for loss of use of any body extremity. Once your doctor has determined the percentage of permanent injury, you look at the schedule for your type of loss and apply the percentage and that indicates the amount to which you are entitled.

It’s important to understand that, once the award is determined, the workers’ compensation case is generally closed. It may, however, be reopened if your injury becomes worse. So, for example, you may have 50% use of your hand now and receive a scheduled loss of use award based on that percentage. If your injury progresses and you lose permanent use of the entire hand, you may reopen your case and seek an additional amount.

Scheduled Loss of Use Awards under New York Workers’ Compensation Laws

Experienced Workers Compensation Attorneys in New York

At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we provide comprehensive counsel to people with workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims in Queens and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.

To learn more about the full scope of our practice, see our practice area overview page.

About The Author

Picture of Michael Serres, ESQ.

Michael Serres, ESQ.

Michael Serres, ESQ. is a reputed Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Astoria, Queens, NY. He graduated from St. John’s University School of Law in 1989. Mr. Serres was admitted to practice law in New York State in 1990 and is admitted in the Federal District Courts for the Southern and the Eastern Districts of New York. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Workers’ Compensation Bar Association and is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Queens County Bar Association.