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Can workers’ compensation cover the cost of prosthetics?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2023 | workers' compensation |

Of the different possible workplace injuries you can suffer, the kind that results in limb loss – also called traumatic amputation – is one of the worst.

Traumatic amputations are painful and lead to the permanent loss of a body part. It could be as simple as losing a finger or toe, but the most severe cases involve lost legs or arms. Fortunately, those who lose limbs can use prosthetics to replace their lost functions.

However, prosthetics aren’t cheap. On average, a prosthetic leg costs between $3,000 and $120,000. Prosthetic arms aren’t any better, with the cheapest ones ranging around $8,000.

Workers’ compensation can cover the cost of medically treating work-related limb loss injuries, but can it also pay for prosthetics?

Covering the cost of prosthetics

According to Maryland’s Workers’ Compensation Commission, workers’ compensation can cover the cost of prosthetics. There’s also no limit to the type of prosthetics coverable so that a worker can have artificial arms, feet, hands and legs as needed.

However, prosthetics aren’t always the answer even when a limb is lost.

Do you need a prosthetic?

Not every injured worker needs a prosthetic. Some medical conditions may complicate the use of one. The following factors can affect whether a worker needs an artificial limb or should instead opt for alternative implements such as crutches or wheelchairs:

  • The amount of soft tissue remaining on the severed limb: There must be enough soft tissue left to help cushion the remaining bone from the prosthetic.
  • Amputation from below or above the elbow/knee: The point of amputation may complicate how a prosthetic is used. Amputations above the elbow and knee can make it harder for people to use prosthetics.
  • Certain medical conditions: A person already experiencing severe mobility issues may opt for a mobility device instead of a prosthetic leg. Those suffering from diabetes or peripheral vascular disease might not do well with a prosthetic.

Workers should consult with their doctors first before deciding to opt for a prosthetic.

In summary, workers’ compensation can cover the cost of prosthetics. However, artificial limbs aren’t for everyone. This also means employers and their insurers could also find ways to avoid paying for one. If you’ve lost a limb in a work-related accident and you believe you’re entitled to a prosthetic despite your denied claim, consider approaching legal counsel to understand your next steps.

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