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Workplace Accidents Resulting in Amputations

Posted by on Jun 25, 2016 in Workers Compensation | 0 comments

Accidents at work sites range from minor to life-altering. Some of the most significant bodily traumas are those that result in amputations. Medical professionals may sometimes be forced to amputate a damaged limb if it is required to save a person’s life or the limb is beyond repair. Additionally, a full accidental amputation can occur at a work site if a sharp object or excessive force separates tissues and bones in a limb. The types of accidents resulting in amputations are varied, but most involve heavy machinery. Amputations can occur due to malfunctioning machinery or tools, conveyor belt accidents, motor vehicle accidents, collapsing equipment, or falling.

Adjusting to life after an amputation can be distressing and overwhelming. Changes in lifestyle, mobility, and relationships can take an emotional toll. Further, an injured worker who underwent an amputation may never be able to return to work in the same job. Because the loss of a limb is so devastating, federal and state governments have put regulations into place determining the compensation amputees are entitled to. In North Carolina, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act offers amputees 66.66 percent of their weekly wages for a certain number of weeks, depending on the injury:

  • Loss of a thumb: 75 weeks
  • Loss of a hand: 200 weeks
  • Loss of a foot: 144 weeks
  • Loss of an arm: 240 weeks
  • Loss of a leg: 200 weeks

Workers’ compensation can cover medical expenses, lost wages, decreased earning capacity, prosthetics, and physical and emotional rehabilitation. If someone other than the employer is at fault for the accident—such as the manufacturer of defective equipment—the injured worker can file a third-party claim for additional compensation. Depending on the state, loss of eyes or hearing can also fall under the category of amputations.

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