In the last post, we discussed "scheduled" injuries and how they are compensated. This post deals with "unscheduled" injuries, which by definition are all of those injuries which do not fall cleanly within the Industrial Commission of Arizona's "Schedule of Impairments" found at ARS 23-1044. These are usually for injuries to the back, shoulder, neck, head, or hip, or any combination of injuries to "scheduled" body parts.
If an on the job injury is determined to be unscheduled, the worker is only compensated after the condition is stationary if they have sustained a "Loss of Earning Capacity" (LEC). This is determined by comparing the average monthly wage at the time of injury with what the worker is "able to earn thereafter". If the injured worker is limited to earning a lower amount due at least in part to their work injury, the insurance carrier has to pay them a monthly benefit equal to 55% of the difference between the AMW and what they can earn with their restrictions. If the disability is total, meaning that the injured worker cannot perform ANY work activity, then the permanent benefit is paid at 66 2/3 percent of the average monthly wage.
Determining the amount of an injured worker's LEC is a very complex task, which often requires medical expert testimony and labor market expert testimony. A worker who sustains an "unscheduled" permanent injury should definitely consult with an Arizona Workers (Workmans) Compensation Attorney.
Snow, Carpio, and Weekley are Arizona workers compensation attorneys with offices in Phoenix and Tucson, serving the needs of Arizona's injured workers throughout Central and Southern Arizona. They can be reached at (602) 532-0700 in Phoenix and (520) 647-9000 in Tucson for any questions about a case you have.