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February 6th, 2014

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law – Serious, Permanent Injuries (Specific Loss Benefits)

Workers who are injured in accidents while on the job and suffer major injuries may be entitled to specific loss benefits, i.e., lump sum payments for certain types of injuries. Section 306(c)(1)-(21) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act lays out the specific types of injuries and what employees are entitled to receive in the event of permanent injuries, which includes loss or amputation of body parts, loss of hearing, loss of vision, and disfigurement.

It is important to note that these benefits are exclusive, meaning that the injured employee is not entitled to receive specific loss benefits AND total disability benefits. Essentially, the specific loss benefits substitute total disability benefits. An injured employee may, however receive wage loss compensation for healing periods of a specified duration.

Related: Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation – Do You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Loss/Amputation Injuries Under the PA Workers’ Compensation Act

Body Part Compensation Period Healing Period
Leg 410 weeks 25
Lower leg 350 weeks 25
Foot 250 weeks 25
Arm 410 weeks 20
Forearm 370 weeks 20
Hand 335 weeks 20

Compensation Above Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Many workers who suffer major, catastrophic injuries like the loss of a limb, are often unaware of their rights to pursue legal action against other parties. The reality is that in many work accident cases in Pennsylvania, injured workers have viable lawsuits against other, non-employer parties. Below are two common examples of work accident scenarios resulting in liability of another party.

1. Construction Site Work Accident

A masonry worker is performing brick work on a scaffold at a worksite in downtown Philadelphia. He is gravely injured in a scaffold collapse accident, and a leg must be amputated due to the severity of the injury. Investigation reveals that the scaffold collapsed as a result of the failure of the scaffold’s cross bracing. The general contractor hired a scaffold erection company which had a history of OSHA violations for similar problems in the past.

Legal Analysis: Here, the injured worker would file a workers’ compensation claim with his employer, the masonry company. Under the PA Workers’ Compensation Law, he would be entitled to specific loss benefits, due to the loss of his leg. In addition, he would have a viable lawsuit against the general contractor and the scaffold erection company. The general contractor may be liable for negligence in hiring a scaffold company with a history of OSHA violations for similar conduct. The scaffold company would be liable for negligence in erecting the scaffold.

2. Factory Work Accident

A worker is working on an assembly line at a food processing factory in the Philadelphia area. He is operating a machine which malfunctions. His arm gets caught in the machine which results in the loss of his arm.

Legal Analysis: Here, the injured worker would file a workers’ compensation claim with the food processing company. Like the construction worker in the example above, the factory worker would be eligible for specific loss benefits. It is very likely he would also have a viable case against the machine manufacturer or the maintenance company which serviced the machine. The manufacturer may be liable for a defect in the product which caused it to malfunction. The maintenance company may be liable for negligent maintenance.

More: Pennsylvania Workplace Trench Accident Case Study – Beyond Workers’ Compensation

Pennsylvania and New Jersey Workers’ Compensation & Accident Lawyers

Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan is a work accident and injury law firm based in Philadelphia. Our work accident lawyers specialize in handling negligence cases against third parties and may handle workers’ compensation cases. Depending on the facts of a given work accident case, the firm may refer the workers’ compensation case to another law firm. Please call the firm for a free consultation. Click To Call

Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.