Workers Comp & Finger or Limb Amputation: What to Expect
Injuries resulting in the loss of a limb, finger or other extremity are likely to result in exceedingly high medical costs, long term disability and have a profound impact on an individual’s life-long ability to work and earn a living.
While injuries such as these are most common on construction sites and typically involve the use of heavy equipment and machinery, risk of serious workplace injury exists in every work environment.
The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act provides medical treatment coverage and wage loss compensation for accidents such as these, especially those resulting in a permanent disability like that of the loss of a limb, finger, fingertip or any other injury necessitating amputation.
The specific amount of compensation an individual is entitled to and the length of time an individual can receive workers’ compensation benefits are largely dependent upon the amputated body part.
What to Do Following Loss of Finger or Limb at Work
Following a serious workplace injury resulting in amputation, injured individuals are faced with a series of important decisions regarding their rights under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law and how they wish to pursue their claim.
Under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act, injuries resulting in the loss of (or loss of use of) certain limbs are classified as a specific loss, with each specific loss subject to compensation for a specified number of weeks depending upon the body part impacted. In specific loss cases, individuals are guaranteed full compensation during the allotted period, regardless of whether or not they return to work at any point.
Once the scheduled loss period expires, the individual will no longer be eligible for workers’ compensation. As such, in certain cases where an injured individual may be out of work for a period of time exceeding that of the scheduled loss period, it may be more beneficial to file a claim under “total disability” over the specific loss (as disability benefits do not have an expiration date).
How Much Does Workers Comp Pay for the Loss of a Limb or Finger?
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation law follows the same compensation structure as the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA), which stipulates that specific loss injuries be compensated at 66.66% of average pre-injury monthly wages each week for the entire duration of the scheduled loss period.
Loss of Leg Compensation
Under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act, injuries resulting in the loss of a leg are subject to a specific loss period of four-hundred-and-ten weeks.
Any injury resulting in partial amputation of the leg above the knee is considered “loss of a leg.” Injuries resulting in amputation below the knee are classified as loss of a lower leg and are subject to a specific loss period of three hundred and fifty weeks.
In addition to the scheduled period of benefits, specific injuries are subject to compensation for a “healing period” (if applicable) preceding the specific loss period. The loss of a leg is subject to a healing period of twenty-five weeks. Healing periods are compensated at the same 66.66% rate of average pre-injury monthly wages.
Loss of Arm Compensation
Similar to that of the loss of a leg, Pennsylvania law provides a four-hundred-and-ten-week specific loss period for injuries resulting in the complete loss of (or loss of use of) an arm.
All injuries resulting in amputation above the elbow are classified as the “loss of an arm,” while all injuries resulting in amputation below the elbow (and above the wrist) are classified as “loss of a forearm.” Injuries resulting in the loss of a forearm are subject to a specific loss period of three hundred and seventy weeks.
Injuries resulting in the loss of an arm or forearm are also subject to a healing period of twenty weeks.
Lost Tip of Finger Compensation
Workplace injuries which lead to the complete loss, loss of use, or amputation of a finger are subject to different specific loss periods depending upon the finger lost.
Specific loss periods for each finger are:
- Thumb: 100 weeks
- Index Finger: 50 weeks
- Middle Finger: 40 weeks
- Ring Finger: 30 weeks
- Pinky Finger: 28 weeks
Healing periods for lost fingers are ten weeks for thumbs and six weeks for any other finger.
Lump Sum Settlements For Loss of Limb or Finger
While workers’ compensation benefits are available during the entire duration of the specific loss period in weekly installments, many insurance companies will attempt to settle the matter in a lump sum payment.
In Pennsylvania, the lump sum payment amount is determined by multiplying the total number of weeks by the 66.66% average pre-injury monthly wage figure. However, most insurance companies will attempt to negotiate an offer for a reduced amount.
Key to Maximum Benefits: A Qualified Attorney
To ensure the maximum settlement offer, it is essential to work with a qualified and experienced attorney. In addition to workers’ compensation, individuals suffering from extreme workplace injuries resulting in specific loss of a body part may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits and additional compensation through personal injury litigation.
The highly qualified and dedicated team of attorneys at Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo is here to assist you in all aspects of your specific loss workers’ compensation and social security disability case. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today via email or call us at (844) 243-4849 or toll-free at 877-794-2396.