Amputations can result from a work accident. Losing a body part, whether it is an arm, leg, hand, foot, finger, or toe, can be life-changing and extremely difficult to deal with. Following an amputation, you will need medical care and could be entitled to lost wages. Once you have recovered and reached maximum medical improvement, you could also be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits for the amputated body part.
If you have had an amputation following a work injury, contact Injured Workers Law Firm for help navigating this difficult time and to understand your rights following a work accident.
An Amputation Can Happen to Anyone
Traditionally, we associate amputations with physically demanding jobs, such as construction and jobs dealing with heavy machinery. However, an injury resulting in amputation can happen to anyone. Regardless of how your accident was caused, you are entitled to benefits for your amputation in a covered work accident in Virginia.
If you have a covered work accident in Virginia, you are entitled to medical treatment for those covered work injuries. Unfortunately, some work accidents result in amputations. You are entitled to have all medical treatment related to that amputation covered by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This includes medical treatment leading up to the amputation, the surgical procedures associated with the amputation, and treatment while you recover from the amputation.
Some injuries do not result in an amputation right away. For instance, if the surgical intervention cannot save a body part, it may be amputated long after the original accident. This is still covered by workers’ compensation.
Many injured workers feel phantom pain following an amputation. If you have phantom pain, consult your physician as they may prescribe pain management or therapy to deal with that pain. Additionally, depending on what limb is amputated, you may need a prosthesis. These treatments are also covered by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you have an amputation, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits or lost wages. There are several different types of benefits you may be entitled to.
The most common benefit is temporary total disability benefits. You are entitled to these lost wages while you are out of work.
If you return to work on light duty, you may also be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits.
In some instances, you may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits. In order to be eligible for permanent total disability benefits following an amputation, there must be a loss of both hands, both arms, both feet, both legs, or any two thereof in the same accident. You do not need to have both body parts amputated. An amputation combined with a significant loss of use of the other body part could make you eligible. Consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine if you may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability
Virginia Code § 65.2-503 provides a schedule for compensation for loss of use and disfigurement of particular body parts, including those that may be amputated. Virginia awards a certain amount of lost weeks of wages following an amputation depending on what body part was amputated. Injured workers can receive these benefits after the amputation of an arm, hand, finger, leg, foot, or toe. This applies to partial and complete amputations.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
You may be entitled to permanent partial disability once your doctor places you at maximum medical improvement. Your doctor can give you an impairment rating, or a percentage of loss of use, that is used to determine the benefits you will get. Sometimes, the insurance company will hire a doctor of their choice to give you a lower rating. You should consult with an experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney to make sure you are getting the benefits you are entitled to. Call us at (804) 755-7755 or contact us online today.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.