Workers’ compensation insurance pays benefits to employees injured on the job. Work injuries range from the most common soft tissue injuries (strains and sprains) to more serious, non-soft tissue injuries (fractures and herniated disks). These are mostly treatable injuries and workers can eventually resume their former job duties.
Some on-the-job injuries are much more serious (severe burns, spinal injuries, head trauma, and finger amputations). Workers’ comp provides additional benefits for these types of injuries.
Workers’ compensation statutes generally classify an on-the-job loss of a finger or other body part as a “specific loss.” In the case of finger amputation, specific loss means the use of all or part of your finger is lost forever. To address specific loss claims, each state has a specific loss rating schedule.
You get the rating schedule from your state’s workers’ compensation official.
Insurance companies use the schedule to determine pre-set, lump sum payments for workers whose body parts have been amputated, or otherwise made unusable, as a result of their injury. Lump sum payments can vary, even for the loss of the same body part. For instance, an orchestra musician who lost a finger would probably receive a much higher payment than a grocery store cashier.
The specific loss payment is separate from other workers’ compensation benefits. In addition to paying for medical treatment, rehabilitation, out-of-pocket expenses, and partial lost wages, workers’ comp pays the injured worker a separate, one-time, lump sum payment for the loss of his finger (or other body part). Workers’ comp benefits generally do not include payment for pain and suffering, mental anguish, or emotional distress.
Finger Amputation and Permanent Partial Disability
Finger injuries that result in amputation are usually considered a permanent partial disability. A permanent partial disability doesn’t leave the worker totally unable to work. While the finger loss may make it impossible to resume previous job duties, a worker may be successful in a different job that accommodates his disability.
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee an employer will have a suitable job for a returning disabled worker. Unless you have a contractual relationship with your employer, or company policy states otherwise, you may have no choice but to seek employment elsewhere.
Example: Office Worker Loses Finger
Amy is a right-handed data entry technician. Her job demanded accurate and prompt entry of information. One day while she was inputting data, a window close to her desk shattered. A shard of flying glass struck Amy’s right hand and completely severed her index finger.
Workers’ comp covered all of Amy’s medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and two-thirds of her lost wages. She was also paid a separate lump sum settlement for her amputated finger. While Amy couldn’t resume her duties as a data entry technician, she accepted a different position with her company in the quality control department.
A permanent partial disability rating is based on the primary physician’s evaluation. The physician considers several factors when deciding the rating, including age, general state of health, education, work skills, and sometimes appearance. He sends his rating to the workers’ comp adjuster handling the claim, and a determination is made for the amount of the lump sum settlement award.
The settlement depends on your state’s disability rating schedule and formulas used to determine amounts for the loss of specific body parts.
If you don’t agree with the insurance company’s settlement award, seek legal advice from an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Your attorney can contest the physician’s rating, the rating schedule itself, and/or the amount of the lump sum settlement.
Fired After Loss of Body Part
In many cases it’s illegal for an employer to fire or refuse to hire a worker because she has a disability. Most states have discrimination statutes and regulations based on the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, it’s unlawful for employers to discriminate against a worker with a disability.
The ADA allows exceptions for employers who meet specific criteria. If an employer can prove that a position accommodating the disability is not available, or that accommodating the disabled worker creates an undue economic hardship, the company is exempt from charges of discrimination. This often happens with smaller, “mom and pop” businesses.
Example: Finger Amputated in Paper Cutter
Fred worked for a small, family-owned printing company. He was passing a ream of paper through a paper cutter when his finger slipped and was amputated. Workers’ compensation paid Fred’s medical care, out-of-pocket expenses, and partial lost wages. He was also awarded a lump sum settlement for his amputated finger. But when Fred tried to return to work, he learned he’d been let-go.
Fred unsuccessfully sued under his state’s disability discrimination laws. The court found Fred couldn’t return to his previous job duties due to the loss of his finger, and since Fred worked for a small company with a limited number of positions, his employer was not legally required to accommodate Fred’s disability.
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Visitor Questions on Common Types of Work Injuries
Can I receive a settlement for losing the tip of my little finger and feeling in my thumb? While working in an asphalt plant I was asked to help find the reason a discharge auger kept on tripping a breaker. While doing so I thought to check the gearbox and electric motor while other employees were unplugging the power source – not knowing that the plant operator was going to turn the auger... Read More >>
Leg was severed while working on assembly line… I was working on an assembly line in a manufacturing plant and my leg was almost cut off. The line had a huge gap in it and my whole leg fell in it while the line was moving. I was in and out of consciousness with my leg still in the line, and the E... Read More >>
Four fingers cut off by saw… I’m inquiring for my 26 year old son, who recently lost all four fingers on his left hand due to a saw accident at work in Montana. The saw did not have adequate safety guards in place at the time of the accident. His fingers were too badly damaged and had to be amputated at... Read More >>
Lost three fingers due to unsafe practices at work… I lost several fingers at work. The first was at the joint of my left index finger, and lost 1st and 2nd at the joint of my middle and ring fingers on my left hand. I’ve been off work for exactly one month. Several other employees have complained about the unsafe practices that needed corrected.... Read More >>
My son cut off two fingers at work… My son cut two finger portions off while using heavy equipment at work that didn’t have proper safety guards. He yelled for help, and when someone finally came, they did not call an ambulance or properly prep the fingers so they could be saved and reattached. Instead, they told him to go to hospital himself... Read More >>
Owner responsible for finger getting ripped off in conveyor belt? The owner of the company where I work made a mistake and had me grab a brick when I said I couldn’t. I tried because he said to and because I didn’t want to get fired. When I reached into the machine to grab the brick, my finger got caught in the conveyor belt and... Read More >>
Tooth knocked out at work, getting the run around from workers’ comp… My tooth was knocked out at work with a metal rod while I was working on an expander. I went to the dentist and they gave me two choices, either a dental implant or bridge (neither would be my real teeth). I went with the bridge. I am now having headaches everyday since the injury.... Read More >>
Ray amputation as a result of a workplace accident… On April 29, 2014 my wife was seriously injured in a workplace accident. As a direct result, she had two surgeries to repair the damage. The end result was a “Ray Amputation” of her left pinky finger. Her company built the machine that caused the loss in house. It has since be dismantled as it... Read More >>
Misinformation after partial amputation at work? I got injured at work which resulted in a partial amputation. My employer did not file a workmans’ comp claim, my wife and I did. I started with one adjuster who gave me certain information, and now I am with another adjuster who is saying something else. My first adjuster told me about a lump... Read More >>
Index finger cut off by chop saw… I was at work and had an accident on a chop saw. I severed my index finger, losing the majority of my intermediate phalanx. The finger could not be reattached. My thumb was also cut to the bone, requiring stitches over the majority of it and losing my thumbnail permanently. Some loss of motion is... Read More >>
Finger lost while using unapproved pole driver tool… While working installing an 8ft pole in the ground for a satellite dish installation, I was using a tool which was NOT listed or allowed on a company approved tool list. That tool is a pole driver. I was driving in the pole while wearing all required safety equipment, finger gloves, hard hat, knee pads,... Read More >>
Does my company owe me for losing teeth on the job? I am a welder and while at work a piece of tubing that was placed on top of a shelf fell. The tubing hit me in the face and broke two of my teeth and knocked out three others. I reported my injuries and was in extreme pain for several days before the dentist could... Read More >>
Compensation for 5 lost teeth? I was trying to get out of a tractor-trailer. The door would not open from the inside, and I leaned out to the outside and tried the handle out their with no luck. Then I tried to sit down again in my seat, while another driver got the keys to unlock the door from the... Read More >>
Lost ring finger on left hand… I’m a heavy equipment operator. While I was putting fuel in a piece of heavy equipment I fell and hooked my wedding ring on the equipment, tearing my ring finger off from my hand just below the first joint. The rest of my finger and knuckle had to be removed. How long should I be... Read More >>
Ring finger on my right hand was crushed off at work… My ring finger on my right hand (I am right handed) was crushed off by a door at work. Workers compensation sent me to have surgery. The doctor said he lifted the nail bed but the nail came back and is now growing down into my finger. I lost feeling in the end of my... Read More >>
Lost a Piece of a Finger on My Dominant Hand… I was on a job on June 11th and the manager asked me to get an excavator running and ready for a project. I’m a mechanic at a plumbing establishment and I work on all their equipment, including tools and yard equipment, and fleet of pick-ups that plumbers use to get to job sites. I... Read More >>
Severed Finger in Work Accident… At work 3 weeks ago a tool (heavy pipe for oil rigs) fell on my hand when I was moving it with a crane. It went through and cut my middle finger almost completely off and my ring finger was cut off entirely. I went to the safety guy and showed him and said, “take... Read More >>
How much for a finger amputation at work? A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend lost half of his middle finger at work. When the machine ripped it off it also took the tendon out. We wanted to know what to expect in the injury claim process and how much we should expect as a settlement for this kind of injury? The kicker... Read More >>
Fingers Cut Off at Work… My boyfriend cut off two of his fingers at work. Workmans compensation said there is a set amount for loss of fingers. However my boyfriend did not take it for fear that it was all that he was going to get. We spoke to a lawyer who told us the amount offered by workmans comp... Read More >>
Tip of Finger Cut Off at Work… I had the tip of my dominant hand’s middle finger cut off in a door slamming incident at work. I chose to return to work though I was given a doctor’s note saying not to return for two weeks. I spoke with my workers comp representative one time, two weeks following the incident and have... Read More >>
How Long Does My Employer Have to Make a Workmans Compensation Settlement? I was injured at work. As a result of the accident my finger was partially amputated. After I was fully released by the doctor I had a meeting with my HR manager. I was told by him that they were going to get the information from the doctor and make a settlement offer to me.... Read More >>
What’s a fair settlement for traumatic below knee amputation? I am writing this on behalf of my father, who was run over by a forklift at a major Home Improvement Retailer in June of 2010. He sustained a crush injury to the left foot that after hospitalization on and off for about a month required a below the knee amputation and prosthesis placement. We... Read More >>
Work Injury Settlement for Loss of Thumb? I was at work and the boss’s son cut my thumb off with a skill saw. I was holding a board for him and he came down and hit my thumb. What could I expect as a work injury settlement? Read More >>
What is a reasonable settlement for a hand injury resulting in partial amputation of a finger? While working my fingers (middle, ring, and pinky) got caught in a conveyer belt between two rollers crushing them and then (what the doctors call) a de-gloving to my middle and ring finger. I was flown to the E.R. where they stitched my fingers up. A few days after that i had a follow up... Read More >>