Workers Comp & Disability Benefits for Loss Of Limb
Loss of limbs or body parts often lead to workers comp benefits under “schedule loss of use” or partial permanent disability. Sometimes, benefits are awarded for total permanent disability, which is a higher dollar amount. Disabled workers with amputation injuries can almost always receive Social Security Disability insurance claims, too, which is something our law office can also assist you with.
Additionally, if your amputation injury was caused due to third party negligence, you may also consider seeking additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Amputation injuries tend to be the result of faulty equipment, which may mean you have a product liability case in addition to your workers comp and Social Security Disability claims.
Are You Receiving Fair Compensation?
Most, if not all workers’ comp claims are paid based on a schedule of benefits. For amputation or loss of limb accidents at work, a schedule of benefits based on the body part or limb lost is created to calculate the amount of compensation an injured worker receives. The number of weeks and dollar amount to be paid each week for the loss of a limb depends on a number of factors.
There are both federal schedules for compensation and New York schedules for workers’ compensation.
Amputation Federal Schedule of Workers’ Comp Benefits
If you are a federal worker, you are covered by the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA). Typically, workers’ comp will provide 66 and 2/3 percent of your monthly wages if you have complete lost a limb or finger as in amputation, or have completely lost all use of the limb. Amputation or complete loss of function of a body part is considered a permanent, total disability and you will be warded 100% of the benefits according to the schedule. The amount of time you can receive workers’ comp benefits for your injury is broken down by 20 different body parts, for example:
- Loss of a leg is worth 288 weeks of workers’ comp benefits
- Loss of first finger is worth 46 weeks of workers’ comp benefits
- Loss of an arm is worth 312 weeks of workers’ comp benefits
If you have only lost 25% of use of your limb or finger, then you’re entitled to the number of weeks according to the schedule for the body part injured, multiplied by 25%. If you lost 25% use of your leg, for example, you would be entitled to 288 x 25% weeks of compensation; or 72 weeks of workers’ comp benefits.
New York State Schedules of Benefits for Amputation or Loss of Limbs
New York uses a schedule which is almost the same as FECA for body part amputation or loss of use and the number of weeks a worker is entitled to benefits. The difference is the benefits for NY are based on weekly wages instead of monthly wages as FECA uses, and an average weekly wage is determined based on what you earned per week over the past 52 weeks prior to the injury.
Who Decides The Percentage of Loss?
The trouble with most amputation or loss of use workers’ compensation cases is who determines what percentage of loss an injured worker has experienced. A doctor will determine whether you are permanently disabled or partially disabled. Permanent disabilities are then rated with a percentage of amount of use lost. Doctors are generally hired by your employer’s insurance carrier, and it’s not unusual for this doctor to give you a lower percentage of “loss of use” than a doctor you may visit on your own.
Getting the amount of workers’ compensation you deserve is complicated and you should talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to make sure you are receiving the full amount as provided under New York State Workers’ Compensation Law.