The worker argued instead that due to the multiple injuries he suffered on the same leg, he had in fact sustained an "unscheduled" disability of that leg; that is, an injury not specifically provided for in Arizona's laws. Typically, an employee will receive higher benefits if he or she suffers from one "unscheduled" disability as opposed to one "scheduled" injury.
While the Court acknowledged that the worker raised some valid points, the Court left it to Arizona's lawmakers to change Arizona's worker's compensation laws if they so chose. In the meantime, the Court concluded that because the man had suffered injuries to same part of his body in the same accident, he had in fact one "scheduled" injury and was only entitled to the lower amount of benefit payments.
While we have in this blog more than once repeated that injured workers need not worry about their "fault" when applying for workers' compensation benefits, this does not necessarily make the system a "slam dunk" for every injured employee - far from it. As this case illustrates, a number of complicated factors, like how a worker's injuries are characterized, can significantly impact the amount of benefits that injured worker receives.
Source: Risk & Insurance, "Worker's argument for unscheduled compensation falls flat," Oct. 29, 2012