Monday, August 4, 2008

How much is your arm worth?

Because the last post dealt with specific loss benefits, I thought I would provide a quick primer on what this means. Under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, if you lose a particular extremity, or lose the use of that extremity, then you can be compensated for that loss. Basically, if you get your arm chopped off at work, you are entitled to a set amount of weeks of total disability benefits based upon your average weekly wage.

Here is a list directly from the statute listing what each body part is worth.

As you can see from the list, for example, an arm is worth 410 weeks of benefits plus a 20 week healing period. Therefore, if you lost your arm (or lost the use of it for every day practical purposes) then you would receive a total of 430 weeks. You would multiply your total disability compensation rate (TTD) by 430 and that is how much your arm is worth.

It is obvious that this type of system is not fair at all. A person who works at a desk and shuffles papers but earns a high salary ( me....) would get a significant payment if I lost my arm, even though I could pretty much do my normal job of shuffling papers with a few minor modifications. However, a construction worker earning $15.00/hour, for example, probably would NEVER be able to do his/her normal job with only one arm, but he would receive less money than I. That just is not fair. The person who needs their arm the most to support themselves and their family gets the least amount of money.

A rich person's arm is worth more than a poor person's arm.

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