Monday, October 5, 2009

What are "Specific Loss Benefits" in Workers' Compensation?

A Quatrini Rafferty blog article by Michael V. Quatrini, Esq.

If you are injured at work or suffer from an illness related to work, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides you with rights to get your medical expenses and wage-loss benefits covered until you’re able to return to full time work.

But if you have unfortunately lost the use of certain body parts, specific payments might be available. Body parts covered by the act include:
  • thumb
  • finger
  • hand
  • arm
  • leg
  • foot
  • toe
  • sight
  • hearing
The loss can be be as large as payment for the full body part, or, as small as a payment for a portion (half, third, etc) depending on the body part.

In addition to specific payments for loss of a specific body part, compensation may be available for serious and permanent "disfigurement" (i.e. scarring, burns, skin discoloration and/or bruising, etc.) on the head, face or neck. Any other scarring on the body, despite being caused by a work injury and despite being disfiguring, is sadly not compensable.

Under the Workers' Compensation Act it is up to the Workers' Compensation Judge assigned to your case to personally view the scar, discoloration, etc., to determine whether it is or is not disfiguring.
Several of the factors a WCJ should take into consideration are: (1) the texture and color of the employee's skin (2) the manner in which the scar has healed (3) the skill with which the surgeon, in the case of a surgical scar or laceration, has achieved his or her task, and (4) the pre-existing appearance in general, of the injured employee.

you have additional questions about specific loss benefits, please contact one of the workers' compensation attorneys at Quatrini Rafferty by calling us at 1-888-288-9748 or by writing us an email.

- Quatrini Rafferty -

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