When you are injured on the job in Pennsylvania, Workers’ Compensation benefits are available to help you through your period of recovery. What most people do not realize is that specific loss benefits are also available to injured workers even if they do not suffer lost wages. Specific loss benefits under Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation benefits cover the amputation or loss of use of a specific body part, such as a finger, hand, arm, toe, or foot. The injury or loss does not have to be disabling. It must be proven to be amputated or has suffered a 50% to 100% loss of use for all practical intents and purposes.
A worker claiming a specific loss benefit under Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation must prove several things. The first is that the injury happened in the course of the worker’s job duties during employment. The employer must be notified of the injury within 120 days of the incident, and the claim must be submitted within three years from the date the injury was sustained. Failure to meet these deadlines forfeits the worker’s right to benefits.
In the case of an amputation of a specific body part, the judgment for benefits is more easily proven. However, proving the loss of use of a body part can be more difficult. A Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation judge will determine if, in fact, a body part is useless, specifically in relation to the employee’s work. The judge will also decide to what extent the employee suffered if the body part has not been amputated. Only the Workers’ Compensation judge can determine if the loss is 50% or 100%, for all practical intents and purposes. The judge will make this decision based on the testimony of doctors, employers, physical therapists, family members, coworkers, and friends. The injured individual can also testify on their own behalf.
Specific loss benefits are extended to include the loss of eyes or hearing that is a direct result of the worker’s employment. Coverage also includes disfigurement that results from permanent and visible scars on the face, head, and neck. It is imperative for all specific loss claims to have medical, professional, and personal testimony available to substantiate the amount of loss suffered by the individual. An experienced Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you determine if you, in fact, qualify for specific loss benefits and if you have substantial proof to support your claim.
Specific loss benefits under Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation laws differ from payments made for lost wages due to an accident at work. Specific loss benefits are exactly that: benefits paid to compensate for the loss of a body part or the loss of the use of a body part. Once eligibility of the benefits is determined, the amount to be paid for the loss of the body part is determined by multiplying the benefit wage, which is two-thirds of the worker’s salary, by a pre-determined number of weeks for each body part. There are also healing benefits computed into the total benefit, which is not required to be in addition to time missed from work. Instead, this portion of the specific loss benefit is determined by how long the worker would need to recover if, in fact, the injury required time off from work to heal.
What is important to point out here is that a worker who lost a body part or the partial or full use of a body part does not have to miss work to collect this benefit. In fact, the worker can be working at their full capacity on the job and still collect the specific loss benefit. The laws can be tricky to navigate and are often overwhelming for the layperson to interpret. Consulting a qualified and reputable Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer like those at Borjeson Legal Group can ensure that full benefits are obtained.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury at work that involved the amputation or loss of the use of your fingers, toes, eyes, hearing, or other specific body parts, you may be entitled to specific loss benefits under Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation. The experienced and skilled team of Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Borjeson Legal Group have helped countless victims of specific loss collect compensation in addition to their lost wages benefits.
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