Specific loss benefits are paid when a worker is severely injured and suffers amputation or loss of function of a specific body part. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act lists specific loss injuries and the number of weeks in which healing and specific loss benefits will be paid for each injury.
Healing benefits are paid first. They stop when the injured worker returns to work in a comparable job with the same pay or the benefit runs out. The specific loss benefit begins after the healing benefit ends.
Many times, an injured worker is not ready to return to work after the healing benefit ends. This is especially common when a worker has suffered another injury in addition to the specific loss. For example, a worker may suffer amputation of the index finger—a specific loss—as well as a serious cut on the hand.
In this example, the insurance company will stop paying healing benefits once the healing period for the index finger amputation ends. It may attempt to start paying specific loss benefits right away, thus ignoring the separate hand injury. While good for the insurance company, it is not in the best interests of the injured worker. However, if the injured worker can demonstrate that the additional injury took place during the same incident in which the specific loss occurred, the insurance company cannot ignore the additional injury.
In our example of the amputated index finger and serious hand injury, the insurance company must first pay healing benefits for the specific loss of the index finger. Then it must pay workers’ compensation benefits for the hand injury before starting the specific loss benefit payments.
Suffering a serious injury in a work-related accident is stressful. Fighting with insurance companies to get the compensation you deserve can be a nightmare. If you have been injured on the job and need help, contact a Lancaster workers’ compensation attorney at Schmidt Kramer. Our experienced and skilled attorneys will work tirelessly to help you get the compensation you are owed. Contact us today at (888) 476-0807 for your free workers’ compensation case review. You may also wish to download a copy of our book Who Pays the Bills When You Are Injured at Work? for more information.