Injured workers can suffer a variety of serious and disabling injuries, and loss of the use of a body part is one of the most devastating accidents. Virginia Workers’ Compensation laws provide for certain durations of compensation for workers who suffer permanent loss of use, either full or partial, of a body part. If you are seeking these types of benefits, you may need a Virginia workers lawyer to help you file your claim.
Eligibility for Permanent Partial Disability Benefits for Injured Workers
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation benefits for the loss of use of a body part are known as permanent partial disability benefits. These benefits cover the full or partial loss of most parts of the body except the back and neck. Any injury to the arms, legs, hands and feet of workers are the most often covered.
To prove that you are eligible to receive benefits, you will need to seek a disability rating from your treating physician. This can only be done once you have undergone the initial treatment for your injury, and your doctor concludes that you have reached maximum medical improvement.
Disability Ratings for Injured Workers Seeking Disability Benefits
Reaching the maximum medical improvement state of recovery from your injury means the doctor has no expectations that your condition can improve further. If you are permanently disabled, you will need to seek a disability rating to obtain further benefits.
The common testing method for this rating is known as a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) which a physical therapist typically performs on injured workers. Once the therapist submits the report to your doctor, he or she will approve or deny your imparement rating and submit the results to your employer’s insurance company. To speed the process along, you or your attorney can file the imparement rating, related medical records with the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission. There are time lines that must be followed or you will be time barred from getting your permanent partial disability benefits.
The insurance company also will have to approve the rating before the agreement forms are drafted for you to sign. Before signing any of these forms, you should have them reviewed by a Virginia injured workers lawyer to make sure they are in your best interest and that you are earning a fair and full amount.
Calculating Virginia Workers’ Compensation Loss of Use Benefits
There are 3 things that factor into your permanent partial disability benefits when you have lost the use of a body part: your wages,the disability imparement rating and the affected body part. The amount of compensation you should be entitled to is calculated as follows:
The percentage of your disability rating multiplied by two-thirds of your weekly income prior to the injury then multiplied by the number of weeks the affected body part qualifies you for compensation.
For example, workers who suffered a 10% loss of use of a leg and made $1,000 a week would be eligible for $11,666.73 in benefits because the loss of the use of a leg is eligible for 175 weeks of compensation. The formula breaks down in the example below:
.10 x $666.67 x 175 = $11,666.73.
All workers who are injured have unique cases that make determining their specific Virginia Workers’ Compensation benefits a personal process. A lawyer will be able to determine how many weeks of compensation you are eligible for based upon the body part that is now permanently disabled.
Dealing with a claim for permanent partial disability benefits can be frustrating, especially when you have just been told that you will face permanent full or partial loss of use of a body part. A lawyer can explain how this formula applies to your specific injury and disability once you have obtained your rating and are in the process of filing your claim.
When a job-related injury results in the loss of use of a body part an injured worker may be eligible to collect work injury compensation for a certain period of time. The duration of compensation differs depending on which body part is affected, and a Virginia Workers’ Comp lawyer can help you determine your eligibility.
Compensation Periods for Different Loss of Use Injuries
The following body parts may be covered in a work injury compensation claim when the injury results in loss of use:
- Thumb – 60 weeks’ compensation;
- First (index) finger – 35 weeks’ compensation;
- Second finger – 30 weeks’ compensation;
- Third finger – 20 weeks’ compensation;
- Fourth (little or “pinky”) finger – 15 weeks’ compensation;
- First phalanx of the thumb or any other finger – one-half compensation;
- Great (big) toe – 30 weeks’ compensation;
- Any other toe – 10 weeks’ compensation;
- First phalanx of any toe – one-half compensation;
- Hand – 150 weeks’ compensation;
- Arm – 200 weeks’ compensation;
- Foot – 125 weeks’ compensation;
- Leg – 175 weeks’ compensation;
- Permanent total loss of the vision of an eye – 100 weeks’ compensation;
- Permanent total loss of hearing in an ear – 50 weeks’ compensation; and
- Severely marked disfigurement of the body resulting from an injury not otherwise compensated by this section – up to 60 weeks’ compensation.
Not all employers will be willing to give an injured worker the full amount of work injury compensation the worker potentially is entitled to when he or she loses the use of a limb. Your employer may not explain and offer you all of the benefits you may qualify for when you file your claim. If you feel that you are not obtaining the benefits you are entitled to, a Virginia Workers’ Comp lawyer can help.
A Workers’ Lawyer in Virginia helps Workers’ Compensation Cases
Workers who suffer loss of use of a body part can find help filing a claim through a lawyer. To learn more about how Workers’ Compensation works, or to learn about your rights to compensation, order a copy of our free book, the Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia, and contact an injured workers’ lawyer at the Injured Workers Law Firm for a no-cost consultation – 1-877-755-7744.
About the Author: Injured Workers Law Firm
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.