Any workplace injury that causes long-term health issues can be difficult, but losing a limb or other body part can be devastating and life-altering. The accident could impact the way an employee performs while working or his ability to hold down his job. When an employee suffers a workplace injury, he may be entitled to benefits under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws.
Calculating Limb and Body Part Amputation Wage Losses
New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workplace Development uses a Schedule of Disabilities and Maximum Benefits to determine how the loss of a limb or body part is valued in calculating the wage loss benefits under workers’ compensation. There is a new schedule issued each year. The determination as to the benefits a worker should receive is based on the percentage of disability, the number of weeks the worker is entitled to benefits, and the maximum amount of benefits the worker is entitled to.
These are considered scheduled awards and are also used for the loss of an eye or hearing. Other awards—such as back, neck, and shoulder injuries, traumatic brain injury, and injuries to internal organs—are unscheduled awards, and the number of weeks and maximum award will vary. Under New Jersey’s 2016 schedules, you could be awarded the following:
- Loss of thumb. For 100 percent total disability, you could be entitled to a maximum of 75 weeks of payments and $17,400 in lost wages. If your disability was valued at 50 percent, the award would be reduced to 37.5 weeks and a maximum payment of $8,700.
- Loss of fingers. The amount you could be entitled to will depend on the finger that you lost. For example, you would be entitled to a maximum of 50 weeks of payments and a maximum of $11,600 in benefits for the loss of your first finger. If you lost your last finger, your benefits would be paid over 20 weeks, and you could receive at most $4,640.
- Loss of hand. If you lost your hand in an accident, you may receive a maximum of $127,890 over 245 weeks if you suffered 100 percent disability. Fifty percent disability would result in a payment of $30,725 over 122.5 weeks.
- Loss of arm. The loss of an arm with 100 percent disability could result in an award of $210,870 to be paid over 330 weeks. A 50 percent disability award would be reduced to a maximum payment of $45,261 that would be paid over 165 weeks.
- Loss of foot. The maximum you could receive for the loss of a foot would be $106,720 paid over 230 weeks. If this loss caused you to suffer 50 percent disability, the payment would be $28,520 over 115 weeks.
- Loss of toes. For loss of toes, there is one amount awarded for the loss of the great toe and another amount for the loss of any other toe. You could receive $9,280 over 40 weeks for 100 percent loss of your great toe and $3,480 over 15 weeks for the total loss of another toe.
- Leg. If your leg had to be amputated after an accident, you could receive a maximum of $201,850 over 315 weeks. If you were determined to have suffered 50 percent disability, your award would be reduced to $42,438 to be paid over 157.5 weeks.
Calculating how much you are owed involves more than looking at the chart. It entails determining the percentage of disability you suffer because of the loss of your body part—which can be disputed by your employer. In addition, if the amputation of a finger or toe impacts hand or foot use seriously enough, your loss could be converted to a hand injury—with a potentially larger workers’ compensation award.
If you suffered a loss of limb or other body part in an accident on the job, you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you obtain the maximum workers’ benefits you are entitled to. In addition, he can determine whether there are other liable parties responsible for compensating you for other losses above what you could receive under workers’ compensation—including for pain and suffering. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.