Workers’ Compensation and Amputations in Virginia
The loss of a limb is one of the most devastating injuries and can impact a person’s ability to earn long after their accident. Virginia workers who suffer an amputation injury due to a job-related incident are entitled to workers’ compensation. To help you claim the compensation you need and deserve, call an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
How Amputations Happen at Work
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), work-related amputations are actually widespread and involve various activities. However, these injuries occur most often where workers operate equipment that is unguarded or inadequately guarded. This equipment includes power presses, meat grinders, food slicers, roll-forming machines, band saws, milling machines, trash compactors, and shears.
Amputation injuries can also result from accidents involving automobiles, trucks, forklifts, and combines.
Industries that often see amputations include manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and transportation.
Workers’ Compensation for Amputation
Virginia workers’ comp covers an injured employee’s medical bills and lost work.
Medical expenses may include surgery, medication, pain management, physical therapy, and prosthetics. If a prosthetic device needs replacement every few years, you may work with a competent workers’ comp lawyer to show that it is a reasonable cost that the employer’s insurance company should cover.
Meanwhile, work loss benefits in Virginia compensate the worker for their lost wages due to missed work and due to a level of disability after their injury. The worker receives 2/3 of their pre-injury average weekly wage for a certain duration based on what body part they lost. Under the Virginia work comp benefits schedule, these are the durations of work loss benefits for amputation:
- Arm – 200 weeks of benefits
- Leg – 175 weeks of benefits
- Hand – 150 weeks of benefits
- Foot – 125 weeks of benefits
- Thumb – 60 weeks of benefits
- First finger (index finger) – 35 weeks of benefits
- Second finger – 30 weeks of benefits
- Third finger – 20 weeks of benefits
- Fourth finger (little finger) – 15 weeks of benefits
- Big toe – 30 weeks of benefits
- Toe (other than big toe) – 10 weeks of benefits.
If the worker lost only one phalange (segment) of their finger, thumb, or toe, their work loss compensation is only half of the duration specified in the schedule. However, if they lost more than one phalange, it will count as 100 percent loss of that finger, thumb, or toe.
If the person sustains a permanent total disability barring them from getting any type of work, they may receive lifetime benefits.
How to Seek Compensation for Job-related Amputation
This is the basic process for claiming worker’s compensation in Virginia:
- Notify your employer within 30 days of the incident. Even if the accident was a major one that your employer surely knew of, you still need to give them a written notice.
- File a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. You have two years to file starting from the date of your injury, but you’ll want to file as soon as possible because any delay could damage your claim. It’s also wise to have a lawyer on your side to ensure your filing is complete and compelling.
- Your employer should also file an injury report with the Commission. They must also respond to your claim within 20 days of your filing.
- If the Commission approves your claim, you will receive an Award Agreement. You and your employer must sign this agreement, then you’ll need to file it again with the Commission so they can turn it into an official Award Order.
- If the Commission denies your claim, you’ll need to attend a hearing where you must assert your case with evidence. It’s valuable to have a lawyer advocate for you. The Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner will provide their decision after the hearing.
Talk to an Experienced Virginia Workers’ Comp Lawyer
Amputation is not an easy injury to deal with, and you’ll need the maximum possible compensation you can get. Get the guidance and representation of Attorney Jaleh K. Slominski. She has been helping Virginia workers for over 20 years, obtaining favorable settlements in their workers’ compensation claim. She’s not afraid to use her knowledge and experience to fight for you, even against powerful employers and insurers.
Reach out to Attorney Slominski about your workplace amputation injury. Contact us at (434) 384-9400 in (Lynchburg) or (540) 554-3762 in (Roanoke).