What is the Value of an Arm Injury Case in Maryland Workers’ Compensation?
Arm injuries are the 9th most common workers’ compensation injury in Maryland with more awards than ankle injuries, but less awards than foot or feet injuries. This is according to the Comp Pinkbook, a publication that studied Maryland workers’ compensation statistics. The figures represent all of the permanency awards that came in a year and a half period from 284,330 workers’ compensation claims.
Pure arm claims – with no other body part attached to the claim – resulted in just under 700 awards. Comp claims that added the shoulder represented another 151 awards. Adding the neck and shoulder produced 66 additional awards, while the arm coupled with the hand added 59 more. The elbow was listed separately, and was the 22nd most common injury with 181 total awards.
Arm only claims produced $10,352,675 in permanency awards (PPD or Final Settlements) paid from Maryland workers’ comp insurers to injured workers in MD. See some average dollar figures below…
- Avg PPD award arm only = $13,494
- Avg % disabled in PPD arm only cases = 16.19%
- Avg final settlement in arm only cases = $20,936
- Highest PPD award (arm only case) = $184,815
- Highest Final Settlement (arm only case) = $225,000
A ProPublica report stated that Maryland has the highest “value” for the arm in the Country, which they list at more than $300,000. This may, in fact, be true, but as you can see from the values above this maximum recovery can seldom expect to be achieved. The average arm injury is worth a mere fraction of the maximum.
It’s important to factor the severity of the injury to determine the appropriate permanency. Unfortunately for the injured worker, there is no pain and suffering in comp. The only non wage-replacement, non medical benefits paid to the injured worker involve compensation for permanent (lasting) injury.
Broken arms are the most common serious arm injury. However, you cannot narrow down the value of arm injuries simply by making the question: How much is a broken arm worth in workers’ compensation. It varies. Significantly. The main question: How permanent is the injury? A secondary but important question: Was surgery required to repair the broken arm?
Muscle tears, particularly the bicep, are also far too common. Torn biceps are particularly painful and particularly debilitating.
When It’s Not Just the Arm
Often, an arm injury, especially a serious one, involves another body part. Elbow injuries and shoulder injuries should be assessed separately. Generally, where another tangential body part is involved, the value of a settlement for the injury increases. Examples…
- $18,484: average permanency award when the hand is also injured
- $29,778: average permanency award when the neck and shoulder is included
Figuring Out Your Situation
Of course, an average is only that. It’s possible your settlement for your workers’ comp case could be significantly higher. Each case is different. Some find it helpful to go through our workers’ compensation calculator. However, nothing can substitute for the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. A good comp lawyer will communicate with your doctors to figure out the level of permanency and will, in turn, negotiate the settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, at least in Maryland, the case can be adjudicated before a workers’ compensation Commissioner at the WCC and then, if necessary, in Maryland courts.