Over three million work-related illnesses and injuries were reported in 2015 across the public and private industries. Fortunately, many employees were able to make a full recovery and return to work as before the injury. For other workers, however, their injuries and illnesses were so severe, they were forced to undergo an amputation or suffered permanent damage to a body part. While they may have been able to return to work after some time, their life was changed forever. The workers’ compensation system acknowledges the hardship these employees experience, and it offers scheduled loss compensation in many of these situations.
What Is a Scheduled Loss?
A scheduled loss occurs when an employee must undergo an amputation or experiences ankyloses, the loss of use of a specific body part. Ankylosis is stiffening and immobility that occurs when bones begin to fuse together due to the body’s inflammatory response. These conditions can inhibit a worker’s ability both to experience life and earn income as they did before the injury, and the workers’ compensation system provides benefits to address these serious and lasting injuries. Scheduled losses include the loss of use of:
- Eye (or vision)
Compensation for a Scheduled Loss in Ohio
Beginning on the date of the initial injury, compensation is available for those who experience this loss of use, according to a schedule set by the state. That schedule quantifies an injury based on the number of weeks specific injuries will be paid. The current chart determines maximum weekly payment at:
- Hand – 175 weeks
- Arm – 225 weeks
- Foot – 150 weeks
- Leg – 200 weeks
- Eye – 125 weeks
- Hearing (total) – 125 weeks
The schedule also includes prorated weeks for each finger, toe, eye, and degree of hearing loss.
Payment is biweekly, and employees can obtain compensation equal to 100 percent of the statewide average weekly wage. This wage is determined each year by the workers’ compensation commission. For 2017, injured workers can receive up to $902 per week, depending on the type and severity of the injury.
How the Independent Medical Evaluation Affects a Scheduled Loss Award
To obtain scheduled loss compensation, injured workers will undergo an independent medical evaluation (IME). A physician will determine the extent of the injury and assign an equivalent percentage. The IME is important because compensation will be awarded equivalent to the percentage determined at this exam.
For example, if a doctor determines that a worker has suffered 33 percent loss of vision in one eye, that worker would be entitled to 33 percent of the 125-week maximum. In this example, 42 weeks are payable. In some situations, the injured worker may disagree with the determination of the IME, and the difference in compensation can be significant. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help employees make sure that the IME is a true reflection of the extent of the injuries to obtain the maximum amount of compensation.
Obtaining Other Workers’ Compensation Benefits After a Scheduled Loss
Depending on the circumstances, workers who experience a scheduled loss may also be eligible to obtain additional workers’ compensation benefits. Employees who suffer the amputation or loss of use of both hands, arms, feet, legs, or eyes (or any combination thereof) could also receive statutory permanent total disability (PTD). PTD benefits are available for those who are unable to sustain a job. This compensation addresses the diminished earning capacity of the injured worker and can be payable for life. It is necessary to apply for these benefits separately.
If you or someone you love has suffered an amputation or loss of use of a body part due to an injury sustained at work, you may be entitled to loss of use benefits. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at the Monast Law Office may be able to help you learn more about your rights and obtain the maximum amount of compensation. Call our Upper Arlington office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our dedicated legal team.