Schedule Loss of Use Award
A "Schedule Loss of Use" (generally known as an "SLU") is a type of benefit award which may be made after an injured worker rehabilitates and is considered by his/her own doctor, or by the insurance company's consultant physician, to have achieved "Maximum Medical Improvement" (also known as "MMI") for his/her work-related injury or illness. An SLU benefit award is measured in terms of weeks. A particular loss-of-use percentage is first stated by a medical expert. This percentage is then converted into a corresponding number of weeks' worth of Workers' Compensation benefits according to a schedule. Finally, the injured worker's own maximum weekly benefit is multiplied by the number of weeks indicated on the schedule. The resulting benefit is the worker's SLU for the particular injury suffered.
Very often the insurance company's doctor states a lower percentage of loss while the injured worker's own physician states a much higher percentage. In this situation, the insurance company's lawyer will cross-examine the injured worker's doctor to try and weaken that doctor's stated medical opinion. Claimants who fail to obtain their own experienced legal counsel may forfeit valuable benefits if they are not able to effectively cast doubt upon the medical opinion given by the insurance company's doctor.