The use of a prosthetic device should not diminish the fact that you have been left disabled by a work-related accident.
In determining the amount owed to an employee who has been injured at work, certain mathematical equations are used in conjunction with the percent of disability a physician assigns an injury. The higher the percentage of injury, the more money that is owed to the employee.
Recently it came under question during an appeals process if it were possible to reduce that percentage of disability if the employee benefited from the use of a prosthetic. This is an important case to note, as it shows that despite regaining some function thanks to the use of artificial means, the board still recognizes the extent of injury the employee faced as a result of their workplace injury.
The Purpose of a Prosthetic Device
A prosthetic is a device, which can be external or implanted inside the body, that acts as a substitute for a missing or defective body part or supplements one that is not working at full capacity. A prosthetic device can be used to replace limbs as small as fingers or as large as an entire leg. Pacemakers are also considered a prosthetic device because they assist an ailing heart to perform a function it no longer can on its own.
If your employer is attempting to disallow your permanent disability because a prosthetic device has allowed you to regain some function, contact a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney from The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann. The use or non-use of a prosthetic should not diminish the fact that you were left disabled by your work place accident.
Case Study – Workers’ Compensation Benefit Denied
In the Missouri case brought to the court of appeals, the employer was disputing the extent of disability to the employee’s right hand as a result of an accident which had happened on the job. Although the physician had assigned the injury at a 70% permanent partial disability, the employer felt that the use of a prosthetic hand should reduce the percentage.
In addition, the panel found that pursuing a prosthetic device to help increase mobility and usage of the limb was in accordance with future medical care and covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This is a landmark decision that shows that injured employees have the legal right to pursue medical care that will improve their quality of life after a work-related accident has occurred and the employer is obligated to help pay for that care.
Appealing the Decision
If your employer is questioning the after care of your workplace injury or denying your benefits, you have the right to appeal that decision. The Missouri labor board will listen to both sides of the case much like a court trial and make a fair decision based on the evidence presented to them. This is a legal process that entitles you to the right to legal representation.