On our website, we have discussed the various types of benefits available under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (Act). One of these types of benefits is known as “specific loss.” This is the type of benefit available when a worker loses the use of a body part for “all practice intents and purposes.” Recently, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania dealt with the requirements of proving a “specific loss.”
In Morocho v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Home Equity Renovations, Inc.), the worker injured his thumb, index and middle fingers while using a table saw. A Claim Petition was filed seeking, among other things, a specific loss of the index finger.
While litigating the case before the Workers’ Compensation Judge, the injured worker presented testimony from himself, and hospital records, showing that there was a significant injury to the index finger. Specifically, in the post-operative note, the diagnosis was listed as “P1, P2 open fracture, partial tendon laceration, flexor digitorum profundus greater than 50% of the tendon width.” Two pins were placed in the finger, then later removed, though significant damage to the finger, greatly limiting its use, remained. A report from the treating physician observed that the injured worker “has effectively lost function of the index finger at this time for all intents and purposes.” The insurance carrier doctor felt there was no loss of use.