October 18, 2019

Sell Your Thumb for $30,000 and Other Strange Provisions of Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Law

value of human thumbWould you be willing to sell your thumb for $30,000.  How about your right eye for $75,000, your big toe for $15,000 or your pinkie finger $12,500?

Sound crazy?  Well, welcome to the world of the Georgia workers’ compensation permanent partial disability payment schedules.

Because you cannot recover anything for pain and suffering in a Georgia work injury case, every type of injury has been boiled down to a number.  The permanent partial disability payment schedules sets out precisely how much you can recover if you incur a loss or loss of use to part of your body.

In the case of an amputated or permanently damaged thumb, for example, the payment schedule says that your thumb is valued at 60 weeks of work.  If your average weekly wage is $500 per week (the current maximum), then you multiply $500 x 60 to get $30,000.  The loss of an eye is equal to 150 weeks, the big toe is worth 30 weeks and your pinkie finger is worth 25 weeks, and so forth.

When you hear workers’ compensation lawyers talk about a PPD rating, we are referring specifically to Code Section 34-9-263 which sets out a value for various impairments.

You will be happy to learn that a PPD rating is not the cap on any settlement, although it is part of settlement negotiations.  In addition to the PPD calculation I also argue that your settlement should take into account the likely number of weeks you will miss from work in the future (your economic disability) as well as the estimated cost to the insurance company for future medical care.   My goal in settlement is to convince the insurance company that a known settlement figure is preferable to an open-ended unknown financial exposure in the future.

For now, please keep your thumb on your hand where it belongs.  But if you do suffer an injury to your thumb or any other body part, use your good hand to pick up the phone and call me.

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Jodi Ginsberg

Attorney Jodi Ginsberg represents employees who are injured on the job and who need medical care and missed wage benefits available under Georgia's workers' compensation laws.

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