The loss of a finger, hand or part of an arm
can have devastating consequences.
You need experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys fighting for you.
How much is a limb worth?
This might seem like a strange question to ask considering that the tragedy of losing a limb can have massive ramifications for not only the victim but the victim’s family. While many workplace injuries result in a temporary loss of work, an amputation could mean you never return to work again. The loss of a limb can change your life completely, not only causing you to suffer from pain, high medical costs and potential loss of mobility, but also lowering your lifetime earning potential and impacting your quality of life.
Many workplaces have rules and training in place to help workers complete their jobs safely. They also should have guards and safety devices installed to help prevent injuries that could lead to amputation or loss of a limb. Regardless, catastrophic injuries can still happen to the most cautious worker.
If you or a loved one experienced a catastrophic workplace accident that resulted in the loss of a limb or amputation, then it’s extremely important you talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. At Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, our Atlanta attorneys help hardworking Georgians like you across our state by fighting to secure the full workers’ compensation benefits owed to you.
Don’t take your employer at their word if they say your workplace injury isn’t covered.
Contact us today for your free consultation.
Common causes of amputation injuries at work
The reasons why a catastrophic workplace injury happens can be wide-ranging, from getting hit by a truck, crushed by a forklift or falling from scaffolding. Even seemingly minor injuries to the fingers or hand could have terrible repercussions if not properly treated. Injuries to fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet and legs most commonly lead to workplace amputations.
Certain jobs and professions have more amputations than others — primarily those working in industrial or manufacturing industries, such as printing presses, farm equipment, drill presses, bandsaws, trash compactors, meat grinders and food slicers.
Working around machines that punch, shear, bend or cut can be particularly dangerous. Another harrowing risk in these environments is degloving injuries, where a severe accident can lead to the skin and surrounding tissues being torn away from the underlying muscle, bone, or tendon, sometimes necessitating amputation as a last resort.
Other risky occupations involve flywheels, reduction gears, pulleys, chains, belts, spindles, couplings and cams — basically any heavy machinery that transmits energy.
The intricate mechanisms of such equipment not only pose a risk for accidental amputations but also for severe degloving injuries, which require immediate medical attention and can have long-term physical and psychological effects on the affected individual.
Workplace amputation statistics & facts
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the most common non-fatal amputation at work occurs to the fingers. The good news in this area of workplace injuries is that instances of both non-fatal workplace amputations and fatal workplace amputations have decreased in recent years.
Approximately half of all amputations occur in the manufacturing sector, while the remaining amputations are distributed among industry divisions including construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, services, etc.Source
Types of injuries covered by Georgia workers’ compensation claims
Georgia workers’ compensation for loss of limbs
In Georgia, all workplace amputations fall into one of two categories: catastrophic and non-catastrophic injuries. The differences between these two designations are important because the benefits made available depend on which designation the injury falls into.
Workers who are classified as having suffered a non-catastrophic amputation will only have a limited period of time to receive medical treatment and income benefits. On the other hand, certain types of injuries are categorized as catastrophic the moment they happen.
Examples of injuries considered catastrophic by Georgia law include the loss of a hand, arm, foot or leg which leads to effective loss of use of that appendage. Amputation injuries are generally designated as catastrophic.
Due to this, it’s important to contact an attorney to act on your behalf as quickly as possible to ensure your injury is appropriately categorized.
If a worker suffers the loss of an appendage, their employer or insurance company needs to file a Form WC-R1 with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. It may be possible for a person who has suffered a catastrophic amputation to eventually go back to work with the aid of a prosthesis and extensive rehabilitation.
But be aware that it’s possible to lose your eligibility for future benefits if you return to the workplace and are forced to leave it again. In fact, there’s a statute of limitations (O.C.G.A 34-9-104(b)) that limits a person’s right to weekly income benefits if that person goes more than 2 years without taking temporary total or partial disability benefits. Little-known details like these can be confusing and demoralizing for injured workers, which is why we encourage you to let the Gerber & Holder legal team guide you.
Disability benefits for loss of limb (partial and total)
In Georgia, there are two ways an injured worker can qualify for a disability pension after suffering a permanently disabling condition.
The first way is if a worker suffers the loss or use of both legs, both arms, or a leg and an arm, they can be eligible for a monthly pension that will be paid whether or not the worker is capable of returning to work.
The second way is if a medical assessment and vocational evaluation determines that the injured worker has been injured so severely that he or she will never be gainfully employed again. Usually, once an injured worker’s medical coverage has ended, the monthly pension goes into effect.
When it comes to disability benefits for a catastrophic workplace injury such as loss of limb, it’s important to note two details:
- The person receiving the pension benefit doesn’t have to pay federal taxes on the income.
- The amount awarded may not be the same for every injury.
For more information on workplace amputations and other frequently asked questions about Georgia workers’ compensation and disability benefits, visit our FAQs page.
Our record of winning accident cases in Georgia speaks for itself:
Why hire our Atlanta work injury lawyers?
If you or a loved one has suffered a loss of limb or amputation due to a catastrophic work-related accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys today to speak with someone who understands your situation and can advise you on what to do next.
Navigating the complex workers’ compensation system can be confusing and stressful. Put our legal team’s knowledge and abilities to the test to help you get your life back to normal.