A Guide to Workers’ Compensation Awards

Workers compensation awards

A Guide to Workers’ Compensation Awards can come in three different settlement types.  These settlements/awards  are either schedule loss of use (SLU), loss wage earning capacity (LWEC), or a Section 32 (S32).

What is a SLU award and how is it determined?

One type of workers’ compensation is an SLU award. An SLU awards are given when specific parts of your body are injured.  The NY Workers’ Compensation Guidelines allow an injured worker to collect a SLU for: arm, leg, hand, foot, eye, thumb, hearing, all fingers and all toes. This type of payout is controlled by statute.  Each body site is equivalent to a certain number of weeks one can be paid for.  For example, someone that injures a leg can be entitled to a total of 288 weeks of pay; however, this is if there is a total loss of use to a leg such as amputation.  If you have less than total use, the number of weeks you can be paid for is calculated percentage of loss.  For instance, if you have a 25% SLU to your leg you are entitled to 72 weeks payments (2/3 of your average weekly wage).  Most of the time this is paid out in one lump sum. Your workers’ comp attorney will be able to help you calculate the number of weeks your injury is worth according to a Guide to Workers’ Compensation Awards.

How does an LWEC finding differ from a SLU?

LWEC awards are given for your head, neck, back, or any other category that is not already covered by SLU.  The weeks for which LWEC (permanent disability %) awards is paid out is also statutory.  Injuries prior to March 1, 2007 allow the injured worker to be paid  for the remainder of his or her life.   Nowadays an injured worker is only paid for the remainder of life if found to have a 100% LWEC- permanent total disability.  Anything less than a 100% LWEC allows an injured worker to be paid from 225 weeks -525 weeks.   Unlike SLU award which is based solely on medical and LWEC finding takes into consideration vocation factors as well, such as education level, computer skills, age, and English competency. It is important to know that LWEC award is only paid if an injured worker is out of work or making less money than at time of injury.  A worker’s comp attorney can give you an idea of what you may be entitled to receive.

Does a S32 settlement close my case out completely?

S32 settlement can come in multiple forms.  The first is an indemnity only settlement which means that the only future loss wage part of a case is settled, but the medical remains open.  This means an injured worker will receive a one lump sum payment for future loss wages, but medical treatment will still be covered by the insurance carrier.  The second is a full and final settlement without Medicare set aside (MSA). This means the insurance carrier pays one lump sum covering future lost wages and an estimated amount for future medical.  It is the injured party’s responsibility to use the medical portion for treatment related to his or her injuries.

Lastly there is a full and final S32 inclusive of MSA.  This requires MSA approval for the amount paid on medical portion of a case.  The money for MSA can be paid out in a one lump sum or in an annuity.  The injured worker will set up an interest-bearing account where MSA money will be deposited.  A check for loss wages will be issued separately.  A S32 can be complicated but getting the proper workers’ compensation award is important. That is why a Guide to Workers’ Compensation Awards will always remind you what’s best.

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