In a workers’ compensation claim, body parts are worth varying amounts of money depending on where you live. Most states have scheduled losses, detailing each injured body part covered and how long you can receive benefits. Some states may use an impairment rating, which bases compensation on your disability’s severity.
Overall, the value of a body part will depend on:
- The body part itself
- Your weekly wage
- The state’s weekly wage benefits cap
- The percentage of your loss of use or impairment
- The number of weeks you have the injury (up to the state max)
A workers’ compensation lawyer Los Angeles can explain your options further.
Scheduled Losses for Body Parts in Workers’ Compensation Settlements
A scheduled loss is an injury listed on a table (or schedule) that displays all injuries, body parts, or senses covered under your state’s workers’ compensation law. Scheduled losses usually comprise injuries related to:
- Eye or vision
- Ear or hearing
Some states also include other injuries, such as the loss of organs or scarring and disfigurement. Each of these losses will pay a different amount depending on your state.
Each State Values Body Parts Differently
While many people believe that a body part should be valued the same no matter where you are, some states value them more highly than others. For example, in a study on how much a limb is worth, the maximum amount of compensation South Carolina pays for an arm is $168,531. Yet, in Alabama, the maximum amount paid for the loss of an arm is just over $48,000.
Compensation for a body part on a schedule generally depends on the number of weeks the state allows injured victims to collect payment. For instance, in New York, you can collect benefits for an arm for up to 312 weeks.
Some Body Parts Are Worth More Than Others
Certain functions are considered more important than others. Further, the loss of an entire limb is usually worth more than the loss of a single part. The worth of a body part is measured by how long you can seek compensation.
For example, losing a hand would result in higher compensation than losing a single finger because you could collect compensation for a longer period. The same also goes for parts that affect the whole body as opposed to an isolated area.
Minimum and Maximum Workers’ Compensation Settlements for Body Parts
The maximum amount each state will pay for a body part varies. While the exact value of your injured or lost body part depends on your situation, the states that provide the highest and lowest maximum compensation for each major body part are listed below.
With inflation and other legislature, these numbers may have changed slightly over time:
Highest: Nevada $859,634
Lowest: Alabama $48,840
U.S. average max: $179,878
Highest: Nevada $457,418
Lowest: Alabama $44,000
U.S. average max: $153,221
Highest: Nevada $738,967
Lowest: Alabama $37,400
U.S. average max: $144,930
Highest: Maryland $251,802
Lowest: Minnesota $26,000
U.S. average max: $91,779
- Big toe
Highest: Oregon $90,402
Lowest: California $6,090
U.S. average max: $23,463
Highest: Kentucky $195,670
Lowest: Rhode Island $13,500
U.S. average max: $42,432
- Index finger
Highest: Oregon $95,723
Lowest: Maryland $6,720
U.S. average max: $24,474
Topics of Interest in Workers’ Compensation Cases
If you recently suffered an on-the-job injury, you likely have many questions about your legal options moving forward. In addition to wondering how much body parts are worth in a workers’ compensation claim, you may also wonder:
What Are Weekly Wage Benefits?
Generally, compensation for work-related injuries depends on your average weekly wage (AWW). AWW is the amount a worker earns annually divided by the 52 weeks in a year.
Workers’ compensation insurance usually pays two-thirds of your average weekly wage if you are totally disabled or unable to work. For instance, if you earned an average of $600 a week before your injury, your weekly wage benefit under workers’ compensation would be $400.20.
Each state has its own average weekly wage, and in most cases, your weekly wage benefits cannot exceed this amount. For example, in Maine, the state average weekly wage is $1,036.13. A person who makes $1,600 a week in that state would not receive more than $1,036 in weekly wage benefits, even though two-thirds of their wages would be $1,056.
What Is an Impairment Rating?
Not all states use a schedule to value your losses. Some states utilize a compensation system based on impairment ratings.
An impairment rating is a percentage assigned to an injured person to indicate the degree of impairment they have. The rating represents their deviation from normal health and functionality. The lower the impairment rating, the closer the injured is to having normal functionality. The higher the impairment rating, the further they are from normal functioning capacity.
How Does Impairment Rating Compensation Work?
A doctor will determine when the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the level of recovery at which they are not likely to get any better. Essentially, their condition is as good as it’s going to get, and no other treatments are likely to help.
Once the worker has reached MMI, their physician will assign an impairment rating if they are left with a permanent disability. The disability may be partial or total. Total disability carries a 50% or higher impairment rating, while partial disability includes anything rated 49% or lower.
Your compensation depends on the number of weeks your state assigns to each impairment percentage. Suppose you were given a 10% impairment rating in California. You would receive five weeks of weekly wage benefits for every percentage point of impairment. Your compensation is equal to five multiplied by 10 or 50 weeks of compensation.
A Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Seek a Settlement for Injured Body Parts
The amount of money you receive in your workers’ compensation settlement will be unique to your circumstances. Workers’ compensation laws are complex and difficult to understand for most people. Attempting to decipher the law on your own could result in misinterpreting the law and missing out on the compensation you deserve.
A workers’ compensation attorney can explain your rights and the laws of your state. They can also explain how much each body part is worth in a workers’ compensation settlement. If you were injured at work but have problems securing benefits, call KJT Law Group at (818) 507-8525. We offer free consultations.