The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides that certain injuries are eligible for specific loss awards. A specific loss in Workers’ Compensation is when you lose use of a specific body part. In that case, the Workers’ Compensation Act has predetermined a set amount of weeks that you are permitted to receive payment, based on the body part you lost. The amount you receive per week as workers’ compensation benefits is based on a calculation of your average weekly wage. The predetermined amount of weeks for the injury to certain body parts are as follows:

Nature of Injury Benefits Paid (weeks) Healing Period (weeks)
Hand 335 20
Forearm 370 20
Arm 410 20
Foot 250 25
Lower Leg 350 25
Leg 410 25
Thumb 100 10
First Finger 50 6
Second Finger 40 6
Third Finger 30 6
Fourth Finger 28 6
Great Toe 40 12
Other Toes 16 6

The specific loss provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act  is not only used by an employee to get the maximum amount of benefits due, but can also be used by an employer to limit benefits. For example, if you lose a first finger and you are able to return to work the next day, you can still recover the 56 weeks at your workers’ compensation rate, even though you did not miss time from work. However, if the loss of use of your first finger prevents you from working after more than 56 weeks, the employer will file a petition to limit your payments to only the specific loss period of 56 weeks. In the latter case, to continue receiving benefits you need to prove that there is an injury, separate and apart from the specific loss, which is preventing you from working.

Regardless of the type of injury you may receive at work, you should also keep in mind that the law allows you to pursue a lawsuit against someone or an entity other than your employer, if that other person was negligent.

If you have lost the use of a body part or lost a body part due to amputation, you should contact Carin O’Donnell at  Stark and Stark to discuss your rights under Workers’ Compensation Act and the possibility of a separate legal action if another person, other than your employer caused your injury.