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Q: My ring finger was amputated in a work-related accident in Harrisburg. I am still unable to work, but the insurance company plans to stop paying the workers’ compensation healing benefit and start my specific loss benefit. Can it do that?

A:

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides specific loss benefits for the amputation or loss of use of certain body parts as well as disfigurement of the neck, face or head. These injuries are listed in the statute along with the number of weeks in which a healing benefit and a specific loss benefit must be paid to an injured worker.

Healing benefits are paid first. The healing benefit stops when the worker returns to work at the pre-injury wage or the healing benefit runs out—whatever comes first. Once the healing benefit stops, the specific loss benefit begins.

Many times, injured workers are not completely healed by the time the healing benefit ends. For example, you might have suffered an additional injury in the same incident in which your ring finger was amputated. In this case, the insurance company must pay the workers’ compensation benefit for that injury before starting your specific loss benefit for the amputation of your ring finger.

If you did not suffer additional injuries, the healing benefit and specific loss benefit is the maximum benefit you can receive for your injury. This is true even if your injuries are so severe that you can never work again.

Suffering an amputation or other specific loss is difficult. In addition to suffering permanent physical disability, you may be suffering financially too. At Schmidt Kramer, our workers’ compensation attorneys regularly help injured workers obtain the compensation they are owed. We can help you too. If you have been injured at work, give us a call at 888-476-0807.

We will review your case and help you to understand your legal options.

You may also wish to download a copy of our book Who Pays the Bills When You Are Injured at Work? for more information.