Disability Values For Injuries To Fingers and Hands Under Minnesota’s Workers’ Compensation Act

Disability Values

Under Minnesota’s system of workers’ compensation, permanent partial disability benefits are awarded based on a finding of what percentage of whole body impairment the worker has suffered. This percentage is based, in turn, on a schedule of various injuries which allocates different percentages to different injuries.  This is what is called the Table of Disability Values and includes information on Workers’ Compensation, Disability Benefits, and Permanent Partial Disability.

While it might seem slightly cold and calculating to determine the correct amount of benefits based on a mathematical formula for what essentially amounts to “how injured are you?” the percentage system (for disability values) does have the advantage of making it relatively straightforward and easy to determine what sort of workers’ compensation you can expect for a particular injury.

 

Permanent Partial Disability/Impairment

disability valuesPermanent partial disability, also known as PPD and sometimes referred to as permanent partial impairment, of fingers is considered to be a whole body disability, so Minnesota regulations do allocate disability percentages for various finger injuries. To make things even more complicated, however, each finger and each joint of each finger are assigned different percentages. If you’ve injured multiple joints and/or fingers, you compute the final percentage of whole body disability (the number that determines the amount of compensation you are due) by multiplying the overall disability to a finger or joint by certain listed percentages.

Some examples make all of this a good bit easier to understand. The percentages for certain injuries include:

  • Mallet deformity to the ring ringer: .2%
  • Severe (i.e. greater than 30 degrees) permanent rotational deformity: 30% of the value of the digit, which is, for example, 22% for a thumb
  • Persistent moderate triggering: 20% of the value of the digit

Injuries which involve loss of function to a finger or the hand as a whole, such as a lacerated tendon, are allocated percentages based on the range of motion the injured worker is left with.

 

Amputations

Amputations are dealt with in a separate regulation and assign percentages of whole body disability based on where the amputation was performed and, if applicable, which finger or fingers were amputated. For example, some percentages are:

  • Amputation of thumb through proximal phalanx: 16%
  • Amputation of index finger at distal interphalangeal joint to middle of distal phalanx: 5%
  • Midcarpal or midmetacarpal amputation of hand: 54%

 

So, while you may need to consult an anatomy textbook, a mathematician, and a lawyer, it is generally a straightforward process to determine with a reasonable degree of certainty what permanent partial disability benefits you will receive for a finger or hand injury.