Question: I was injured at work and I cut off the tip of my index finger. The injury has healed pretty well but I’m missing about 1/2 inch off the tip of the injured finger. I only missed about 3 weeks of work and I was paid workers compensation benefits for that time off. Can I collect anything for the damage to my finger? Anonymous, Taylor, Pa.
Answer: Workers compensation benefits are payable for loss (via amputation) or loss of use of body parts (fingers, hand, arm toe, foot, leg, etc.). Compensation for loss of use does not require 100% uselessness; compensation for loss of use does, however, require that the loss be permanent and the loss must be for all practical intents and purposes. Benefits payable for loss of use are a function of the injured workers average weekly earning pre-injury. Compensation is based upon a number of weeks for each type of loss as determined by Pennsylvania statute. Each of the fingers and the hand each have different amounts of weeks payable. The law also indicates that the loss of one-half of one of a finger or thumb is to be compensated one-half of the loss of the complete appendage. In Pennsylvania, benefits are payable for 50 weeks for the loss of the entire index finger. Therefore, benefits are payable for 25 weeks for loss of 1/2 of the index finger, plus an additional 6 weeks for a “healing period”. In your case, it appears that benefist would be payable for 31 weeks, less the threee weeks you were already paid.
If you’ve suffered a work injury and have questions about your claim, contact me at [email protected] or call (570) 347-1011 for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.