Man with workplace injury getting checked out by doctor.

Specific Loss Injuries

One of the most important industries that we have is the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing plants and factories cut, assemble, and package much of what we use each and every day. While these machines are important, useful and have improved our lives greatly, they can also be extremely dangerous. One of the most severe injuries that workers in the manufacturing industry sustain while on the job is the loss of a body part, known in Workers’ Compensation cases as Specific Loss Injuries.  

Unfortunately, Specific Loss Injuries are not rare. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 alone, about 5,920 workers in the private sector sustained amputation type injuries with those individuals spending an average of 31 days away from the job. 

How does the Workers Compensation Act compensate workers for Specific Loss injuries?

Generally, the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act compensates injured workers for specific loss injuries based on a schedule.  A set number of weeks of workers’ compensation benefits are paid based upon the loss.  For instance, 100 weeks of compensation benefits are payable to an injured worker who loses a thumb.  50 weeks of workers’ compensation benefits are payable to an injured worker who loses an index finger. While it is a bit difficult to read the schedule outlines the number of weeks of benefits for the loss of most body parts including vision.  

An injured worker is paid based on the schedule regardless of how long he or she is out of work. So an injured worker who loses an index finger will receive 50 weeks of benefits regardless of whether he or she returns to work in one week or 100 weeks.  The wage benefits are limited to the schedule.  

In addition to the scheduled loss, the Workers Compensation also includes a healing period that is also paid depending on the nature of the loss.  The healing period pays a set number of weeks of compensation depending on the loss. In other words, the healing period is different for the loss of a finger as opposed to the loss of hand or arm. The healing period is paid over and above the schedule loss.  

There are some very limited circumstances in which additional benefits may be paid beyond the specific loss for an amputation type injury.  Generally, this can occur when there are disabling injuries separate and apart from the amputation injury.  These are very complicated and fact-specific and should be evaluated carefully by a Certified Workers Compensation Specialist. 

The Workers Compensation laws surrounding specific losses are complicated. The insurance company is not looking out for your interest.  If you’ve had an industrial accident leading to an amputation type injury you should consult a Workers Compensation Specialist immediately to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the benefits you are entitled to. 

The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation  Attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP Can Help

When you are struggling with an injury that prevents you from working in full or in part, you may not know what to do. Luckily, the attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP can help. We understand the impact that a work injury can have on your ability to make ends meet. That’s why we’re here to help you. It’s what we do. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!