“How much money is my schedule award worth?”
I get this question all the time. Having said that, I can’t always answer this question right away. I can’t even give a great estimate much of the time. Here is why:
Let’s say you have a serious knee injury. Further, after much legal work, OWCP has accepted the knee injury. You’re off to a great start. I still can’t give you an estimate without more information.
First off, we need to know how much money do you make per week? This doesn’t include overtime and most other variables. Many people don’t know that number off the top of their head. But let’s say we have a number and it’s a really easy number to calculate like $1,000 dollars a week.
The next thing we need to know is whether you have any dependents. All you need is one dependent for you to get paid at the higher, or 75% level instead of the 66% level of pay. That’s easy if you have a spouse. But if you have a child, it depends on their age and if they live with you and if they aren’t, if you are making child care payments. There are other variables here, but for the sake of this hypothetical let’s say the injured person is married and we know the person gets paid at the 75% level.
OWCP pays for a lower left extremity accepted injury schedule award at 288 weeks of pay. Sounds simple? Well, the only way it is easy is if the lower left extremity was amputated and you know you have 100% impairment in that leg. Because the law firm is not a doctor, we could not tell you whether your award would be at 1% or 40%. Furthermore, any previous injuries to the extremity, whether part of the accepted injury or not, should be part of the award.
A doctor would have to examine the person, and give an award based on either a Diagnosis-based Impairment (DBI) or Range of Motion (ROM) method to calculate the impairment, whichever is higher. An attorney is not in the position to give you an estimate of what that may be worth. We are, however, prepared to send you to a doctor with those kind of qualifications.
We’ve been surprised in both directions as to the result of an impairment rating examination.