Tech by VICE

Nevada Is the Best State to Lose an Arm In, According to This App

ProPublica pulled numbers from worker’s compensation laws in all 50 states to find out how much you’ll get.

by Jordan Pearson
Mar 5 2015, 5:37pm

Screengrab: ProPublica.​

​If you've ever wondered how much an arm or a testicle might be worth if you lost one on the job, non-profit investigative news group ProPublica has a handy web app that will let you find out.

The app lets you break down the maximum worker's compensation for various body parts on a state-by-state basis. If you choose "arm," you'll see that workers in Nevada could receive as much as $859,634 if they lose one at work. A worker in Alabama, on the other hand, can expect to receive somewhere around $48,840 at most.

The data was pulled from laws in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Employees' Compensation Act. The ProPublica researchers then checked their numbers with state officials, judges, and attorneys, according to a blog post.

Why the huge disparity in worker's compensation between states? Why the morbid vivisection of the human body down to the finger and toe? Because this is how states look at worker's compensation.

Worker's compensation—monetary amounts given to workers after an injury in exchange for limitations on the legal action they can bring against their employers—is determined by individual states that often seek to provide as little compensation as possible in a bid to encourage business in the area. 

In Alabama, ProPublica reported, worker's compensation rates were set in 1985 and not tied to inflation, which explains why they're so low. Moreover, judges in Alabama don't consider a worker's age or education (i.e. their future prospects) when awarding additional compensation.

So, while you're checking out how much you could get if you lose a middle finger in Hawaii—$23,580, by the way—remember the serious and often heartbreaking situations workers in low-paying states may find themselves in.