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How does workers’ comp deal with finger amputation injuries?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Our fingers are some of the most important parts of the human body. Without them, you’d be unable to hold and manipulate objects, making life extremely difficult. Yet there are many occupations where a person’s fingers are constantly at risk of injury. Construction yards, sawmills, manufacturing warehouses – there’s no shortage of heavy machinery and equipment that can maim, crush or even slice off fingers.

What happens if you’ve suffered a finger amputation at work? In Connecticut, the state’s workers’ compensation system provides benefits to workers suffering work-related finger amputations. If you’ve lost even a part of your finger, the system can give you compensation for medical treatment and lost work, among other things.

Finger amputation as a permanent partial disability

A loss of a finger, even just a part of it, is considered a permanent partial disability by Connecticut’s workers’ comp system. This means that on top of compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, a worker may also claim permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.

The PPD benefit is a weekly payout determined by the employee’s basic compensation rate at the time of the original injury and the percentage of disability the lost finger represents. A breakdown of the maximum PPD benefits based on the number of fingers lost is as follows:

  • First finger lost: 36 weeks of PPD benefits.
  • Second finger lost: 29 weeks of PPD benefits.
  • Third finger lost: 21 weeks of PPD benefits.
  • Fourth finger lost: 17 weeks of PPD benefits.

Losing multiple fingers in a single accident can result in these benefits quickly adding up.

Percentage of finger loss affects maximum possible benefits

If workers only lost a part of their finger, they can’t claim full PPD benefits. According to Connecticut workers’ comp guidelines, the loss of one phalanx (one digit) of a thumb means a worker suffers 75% loss of their thumb and can claim only 75% of the maximum PPD benefit.

Meanwhile, the loss of one phalanx of any other finger than the thumb means a worker loses 50% of their finger for PPD benefit purposes. Losing two phalanges is a 90% loss of the finger.

These percentages are determined through an attending physician’s disability evaluation. The physician then passes this evaluation to the employer/insurer, who can accept or reject it. Approval means the worker can start receiving PPD benefits. But if there’s disagreement over the level of disability, the worker and their employer/insurer can request an informal hearing on the matter.

If you face a PPD evaluation dispute, you might need an attorney’s help. An experienced attorney may be able to advise you on your case and help represent you during the informal hearing to fight for adequate benefits.

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