Pennsylvania Workers are Eligible for Specific Loss Benefits Regardless of Missing Wages
According to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, specific loss workers’ compensation benefits are provided to those individuals who suffer disfigurement, scarring, or amputation resulting in the permanent “loss of use” of a body part. Disfigurement and amputations can be life-changing, destroying an individual’s self-esteem in addition to limiting their physical abilities. It is important to note that an injured worker need not miss any time from work, nor any wages, in order to be eligible for specific loss benefits. Workers who suffer life-altering injuries but are still capable of work, and who have not necessarily missed wages, may be entitled to specific loss benefits.
Specific loss benefits, as summarized by the Social Security Administration, are paid to injured workers who can no longer use the body part in question or who have lost a body part. The loss of use of a body part, according to the Act, must be for all practical purposes. In other words, it must be a loss that is more serious than an injury that would allow the worker to continue using their affected body part at work. The Act does not require that the body part be useless.
In many situations, determining what is a “loss of use” is a factual question for a workers’ compensation judge. Testimony set forth by the injured worker’s medical doctors as well as friends and family can help demonstrate the severity of the loss. Additionally, a judge will determine whether the loss of use is “for all practical intents and purposes.” This requires looking at the law surrounding these types of claims.
For those workers who have suffered a permanent loss or a loss of use of specific limbs or body functions, there is a schedule of “specific losses” listing the benefits to be paid, set forth in Section 306(c) of the Act. This chart makes clear certain injuries are eligible for specific loss awards, including body parts such as fingers, toes, legs, hands, arms, or eyes. Each body part is assigned a value by the Act. The Act predetermines the weeks that an injured worker will be permitted to receive payment.
Specific loss payments are separate from other workers’ compensation benefits. By receiving an award for scarring, amputation, or paralysis, an injured worker will not diminish their ability to receive other disability benefits. An injured employee who continues to work will still be eligible for benefits for the period allotted in the chart.
The law concerning specific loss workers’ compensation benefits can prove complicated, since each case is unique. Injured workers throughout Pennsylvania can discuss their potential benefits with a skilled workers’ compensation attorney at Needle Law Firm. We help workers who have suffered a work-related injury seek the compensation they deserve. Schedule your complimentary consultation with a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney today by calling (570) 344-1266 or filling out our online form.