I was fielding questions the other day of people that have potential Defense Base Act claims and some of the common questions that came about I thought I’d maybe answer on video for people’s benefits.
What is a Scheduled Injury?
One of the questions arising at the beginning of cases is what is a scheduled injury vs. an unscheduled injury under the Defense Base Act? And just very briefly what scheduled injury means is that certain parts of your body are scheduled injuries.
Scheduled injuries are limbs, fingers, hearing loss, eyesight, legs, knees, ankles. You lose the use of the limb, or the limb or the function is lost in a scheduled injury.
Scheduled injuries involve those body parts which are referred to when hurt as scheduled injuries.
Scheduled injuries mean that, for example, in the statutes, that once you reach the maximum medical benefit–treatment–for example you are 25% impaired in your right leg after you had surgery. And it’s going to be that impaired for the rest of your life. Maximum medical benefit is used and has determined the exact use, or loss of use of the injured body part.
Calculating a Scheduled Injury Payout
There are a number of weeks that are on the injury schedule and you multiply that by the percentage of your injury and that’s the amount of money that you’ll get. After you’re at maximum medical improvement they give you that money and then you’re on your own. You’re done. The payout ends.
Scheduled Injury vs. Unscheduled Injury?
What’s the difference between a scheduled injury and an unscheduled injury? A scheduled injury has a beginning and an end. An unscheduled injury is any injury to the body that is not clear or easily determined because it may not be immediately known how long it will be affected. Or even down the line it is not known how long the problem will persist or how it will affect a person.
Examples of unscheduled injuries are head, neck, brain injuries, PTSD, TBI, respiratory illnesses. Unscheduled injuries may go on may continue forever, they may be not be cured, treated or healed but may exist for unknown lengths of time.
- Head Injuries
- PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
- TBI (traumatic brain injury)
- Respiratory Illnesses
What is an Unscheduled Injury?
Unscheduled injuries are unidentified and difficult to know how long they’ll last, whether they can be healed, or whether treatment will resolve the injury
Unscheduled injuries are psychological injuries that type of situation. The reason that those are is because it’s very difficult to put a week value on an injured back. It could be for the rest of your life. It could be for years on end or it could be after surgery you might be completely healed so those are unscheduled meaning that they’re kind of unknown and indefinite.
Lack of Earning Capacity
In terms of those situations: scheduled injury vs. unscheduled injury, you do what’s called a lack of earning capacity and there are no weeks attached to it. It could last for the rest of your life. It could last five years. It could last eight months.
It all depends on what your doctor says in terms of when you can be released to go back to either active duty full duty or doing some sort of work with restrictions and those things are very difficult to determine in terms of what the value of the claim is.
So if you don’t look into something with me as an attorney to give you advice on that please look for someone that knows what they’re doing under not state workers’ comp law under the Defense Base Act because these things are very particularized and you don’t want to short suit yourself in terms of the value of the claim especially on an unscheduled injury.
Again this is Brian Wiklendt with Garfinkel Schwartz. I’m coming to you today from our Maitland Florida office. If you have any questions about this, please call us at any time day or night and I’ll respond to you for free obviously–always–but also within 24 hours or so. Thank you and take care out there.