Workplace injuries are, unfortunately, fairly common. Many jobs involve dangerous equipment or hazardous conditions, and even the most cautious employee can suffer from an accident. Among a wide variety of workplace injuries is finger injuries. In the worst cases, an accident can completely sever a finger from the hand or cause an injury that results in a finger amputation. These injuries can be expensive and have long-lasting impacts. Fortunately, there are compensation options.
In Pennsylvania, a Workers’ Compensation claim can provide payment for medical expenses and lost wages if your finger is amputated following an injury at work. The precise amount of money you could receive depends on the cost of medical care and the specific details of your injury. In general, reasonable medical costs will be covered. You could also be entitled to 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage for a number of weeks. How many weeks of pay you will receive depends on which finger has been amputated.
If your finger was amputated because of an injury at work, you could be eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation. How much you can receive depends on the details of the injury you suffered. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates can evaluate your situation. Call us for a free case review at (215) 355-6400.
Calculating the Cost of Compensation for a Finger Amputation in Pennsylvania
There are several categories of compensation that are available for finger amputation injuries in Pennsylvania. Medical expenses, specific loss benefits, lost wage benefits, and healing period benefits are all available but are calculated separately. Our Bucks County Workers’ Compensation lawyers can help calculate benefits for your specific case.
Workers’ Compensation generally covers all medical expenses resulting from a workplace injury. These expenses range from doctor consultations, emergency transportation to an emergency room, medications used to treat pain or stop excessive bleeding, X-rays, surgery to reattach the severed digit, physical therapy to regain normal movement, mental health services to treat mental and emotional trauma, among other associated costs. If a medical expense was incurred because of the workplace injury, it is likely to be covered.
Specific Loss Benefit for Full Amputation
When an injury results in the permanent loss of a body part, or use thereof, you can also receive a specific loss benefit. Pennsylvania (and many other states) has a schedule of compensation for disability payments for specific types of injuries. 77 Pa.C.S § 513(9)-(13) states that compensation for the loss of a thumb or finger shall be 66 and 2/3% of wages. The amount of time for this compensation varies based on the lost finger, and how much of the finger was removed.
A fully amputated thumb allows compensation for 100 weeks, an index finger allows compensation for 50 weeks, a middle finger pays for 40 weeks, a ring finger pays for 30 weeks, and a little finger allows compensation for 28 weeks.
Specific Loss Benefit for Multiple Amputations and Partial Amputation
If you lose multiple fingers, you could receive compensation for the sum of weeks allowed for each finger. For example, if you lose the index and middle fingers, you could receive 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage for 90 weeks. The 90 weeks is determined by adding the index finger allowance of 50 weeks to the middle finger allowance of 40 weeks.
If you suffer from the loss of only part of a finger, you can receive a specific loss benefit for half the statutory period. For example, the partial loss of an index finger would allow compensation for 25 weeks. A partial loss for a thumb is defined as the loss of a substantial part of the first phalange of the thumb or less. A partial loss of any other finger is the loss of a substantial part of the first phalange or the surgical amputation below the first phalange.
Lost Wage Benefit
Workers’ Compensation also covers a percentage of lost wages if you cannot work for 7 days or more due to your injury. You can receive lost wages even if you are partially disabled and are working but receiving less than your pre-injury wages. Lost wage payments are 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage for a number of weeks. The exact number of weeks depends on which finger you lose. In addition, the amount is capped at a maximum of $1,273 per week for 2023. Since a lost wage payment depends on several factors, reaching out to our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation attorneys to discuss your specific situation is the best way to calculate an accurate estimate.
Healing Period Benefit
In addition, 77 Pa.C.S § 513(25) allows for compensation for a healing period of 10 weeks or 6 weeks for the loss of a thumb or finger, respectively. This type of payment is frequently negotiated as a lump sum payment from the insurance company.
How Do I Get Compensation for a Workplace Injury in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania law requires all employers to have Workers’ Compensation insurance and sets our rules and regulations for the claim process. Before Worker’s Compensation was required, employers were forced to sue their employers for damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Workers’ Compensation is an alternative to a lawsuit and offers a faster process of getting paid for medical expenses or lost wages.
To start a Workers’ Compensation claim, you must notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible. Your employer will alert their insurance carrier of the claim and evaluate whether they will approve it or deny it. You must see a doctor to receive treatment for your injury, and some employers have a list of physicians you must choose from. While you are receiving treatment, ensure that you visit an approved doctor, follow their treatment prescriptions and attend all follow-up appointments.
If you face a Workers’ Compensation claim denial, options are available to challenge the decision. A Workers’ Compensation judge can review your case and issue an opinion. If the judge’s opinion is unfavorable, you can appeal the case. Our Chester County Workers’ Compensation attorneys can provide further advice and guidance if your claim is denied.
Call Our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
Losing a finger at work is a shocking and traumatizing injury that deserves just compensation, and the Delaware County Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates want to help you. Do not wait to get your free case review by calling (215) 355-6400.