In JLC's sister-publication, Tools of the Trade, editor David Frane looks at an analysis by Pro Publica of the dramatic variation from state to state in worker's comp benefits. If you lose a limb in Alabama your benefit will be significantly less than the benefit from losing that same limb in Illinois. An interactive chart allows you to enter the state and injured body part, and see what the maximum benefit would be.

Benefits vary according to which limb you lose, even which finger you lose. Thumbs are worth the most; the index finger worth only about half as much, and the benefit for losing each finger goes down in order - index, middle, ring, pinkie.

As described by Pro Publica: "Nearly every state has what’s known as a 'schedule of benefits' that divides up the body like an Angus beef chart. Workers are awarded a portion of their wages up to the state maximum for the specified number of weeks assigned to each body part. But depending on those numbers, the final amounts can vary widely."

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