What's a testicle worth in Minnesota?

Minnesota happens to be one of the states that has a specific value on the books for how much a single testicle is worth in workers' comp.

Minnesota happens to be one of the states that has a specific value on the books for how much a single testicle is worth in workers' comp. Flow Graphics,

There’s a colorful anatomical metaphor in the English language used to describe things we want, but cannot realistically have. 

One might say, "I’d give my left nut for a moment of peace and quiet." Or, more topically, “I’d give my left nut to be able to go out and see my friends again without risking the spread of disease.”

Have you ever for a second wondered what giving your left nut could really afford? What is the inherent monetary value of a nut, left or right?

According to a groundbreaking study by ProPublica, the answer depends on where you live.

Back in 2015, ProPublica compiled a detailed study of workers’ compensation laws—what you’re entitled to if you suffer damage to your body and loss of future wages. These values not only vary from state to state, but from limb to limb. In Alabama, for example, the loss of one leg was worth $44,000, but a finger was worth only $9,460.

Minnesota happens to be one of the few states to take a very particular part of the human body into account. ProPublica reported that in our state, the loss of one testicle entitled you to $3,750. Before you decide whether that’s a lot, consider that the national average for missing testicles is $27,678, and in Illinois, a lost ball will run an average of $73,537. 

There's a joke somewhere in there about low-balling.

Of course, that was 2015. These days, according to a very gracious spokesperson with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, your left nut is probably worth closer to $3,940, about a 5 percent increase, as of 2018.

That is, it would be $3,940 if no other function of your body, whether urinary or genital, is affected. If you also suffered some loss of hormonal or seminal function, it’d be more like $8,400. If the loss of function was complete, it could be up to $18,900.

These aren’t arbitrary numbers. It all comes down to the way Minnesota calculates permanent partial disability benefits—on an “impairment rating schedule.” It’s based on the percentage of your body impacted by the injury. Total impairment of a single nut comes down to about 5 percent of your body as a whole.

Loss of an eyebrow is 2.5 percent. A scar longer than eight centimeters is 4 percent. Complete loss of vision in both eyes: 85 percent.

All this to say, someone has thought a long time about what your left nut is worth in order to make sure you are fairly compensated for it. Consider that before you offer to trade it for, say, a slice of pizza. It’s worth more than that. Just imagine what you could get for it in Illinois.