In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Worker’s Compensation Act allows payment of compensation for loss (amputation)or permanent loss of use of body parts, binaural hearing loss of greater than 10%, disfigurement, and loss of vision in one or both eyes. This particular compensation is referred to as specific loss benefits. Specific loss benefits are an exclusive remedy, and are paid even if the worker loses no time from work.
Extremities included under specific loss benefits include leg, lower leg, foot, great toe, other toes, hand, forearm, arm, thumb, first finger, second finger, third finger, and fourth finger. The amount of benefits varies for each of the specific body parts, and may or may not include a healing period. The Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Act provides for payments for a healing period. In addition to the specific weeks awarded for the loss of use, there are specific numbers of additional weeks for each different specific loss, but stops if the worker returns to work without impairment in earnings before the expiration of the healing. In the event of several specific losses, the longest healing period will be paid.
No healing period will be paid if there is total disability from injuries separate from the specific loss. In specific loss cases, there are time limitations, referred to as Statue of Limitations. The date of injury for that purpose is the date when the worker is notified by a Dr. of the loss of use of a body part or faculty for all practical intents and purposes and that the injury is work-related. Medical evidence is needed to support these claims, and notice must be given to the employer within 120 days. Further, a Claim Petition for specific loss must be filed within three years from the date of injury. There are some exceptions to extend the limitation period, but every case is fact specific, and must be reviewed and analyzed on a case-by-case basis.
To find out more information about this type of compensation under the Pennsylvania Workers, Compensation Law, contact Paula Robinson.