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Workers’ Compensation for Amputation Injuries

An amputation is one of the most catastrophic injuries that can occur in the workplace. Victims are left permanently disabled and will probably never be able to work in the same capacity as they did before.

Workers’ compensation benefits for these injuries are governed by complex rules involving disability ratings and other factors.

If you suffered an amputation, we recommend contacting our firm. In a free consultation, our experienced Bakersfield workers’ compensation attorneys can discuss how your claim may be evaluated and how much compensation may be available. 

Effects of an Amputation Injury

Amputations can have a significant impact on a person’s life. Surgery is the first stage in the treatment process, which is followed by a long recovery period. Many individuals who suffer an amputation require long-term medical care. They may require rehabilitation and physical therapy to relearn basic skills, such as how to walk, eat, write or perform other basic functions after losing a hand, foot, leg or arm. 

Many amputation victims suffer pain well after the injury is treated. They may also experience phantom pain from their missing limb. It is not uncommon for victims to experience depression and other mental health issues after such a catastrophic injury. 

Often, amputation victims are unable to return to their previous work. Losing their job is often coupled with other financial strain such as mounting and ongoing medical bills.

How an Amputation is Assessed

Once an injury victim’s condition has become permanent and stationary, the injury can be assessed. Permanent and stationary refers to the point when the patient has reached maximum medical improvement, which means that the condition has stabilized and is unlikely to change substantially within the next year. At this point, a disability rating can be assigned to the victim.

The initial disability rating is based on an evaluating physician’s impairment rating based on medical protocols in the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.

The impairment rating is based on the body part and then converted to a whole person impairment rating. This impairment is then adjusted for factors such as:

  • Occupation
  • Age
  • Diminished future earning capacity

This makes the final disability rating. This ranges from zero to 100 percent. The higher the number, the more impaired a person is considered.

There are specific percentages that are assigned to amputations based on the body part and where the amputation occurred. For examples, the loss of an arm above the elbow may have a higher rating than if the amputation occurred closer to the hand.

In some situations, there may be more than one injury that the victim suffers, such as suffering an amputation and nerve injury. When this occurs, the ratings are added together to establish a composite rating.

Each disability rating corresponds to a set number of weeks of compensation. Compensation is paid based on the number of weeks listed and the weekly compensation rate.

When Do Permanent Disability Benefits Begin?

Permanent disability benefits for workers’ compensation typically begin within two weeks after your temporary disability payments cease. The insurance company is required to make payments at least every two weeks.

Call an Attorney to Discuss Your Amputation Injury

If you suffered an amputation at work, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for a long period of time, as your life will never be the same. 

The licensed attorneys at Berry, Smith & Bartell can guide you through the claims process, if you have a valid claim. We can handle each step of the process, including helping you file your claim, communicating with the insurance company and appealing if your claim is denied. Our goal is to obtain the maximum compensation allowable.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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