If you’ve been hurt on the job, then probably one of the primary issues on your mind is how you are going to support yourself and your family until you can return to work. It is for these exact circumstances that workers’ compensation benefits were designed. However, if you’ve never received workers’ comp before, you might be wondering how much in benefits you may be entitled to.
Although many people don’t realize it, there are actually several levels of workers’ comp, which means you need to learn about the different benefit thresholds you might receive. Discover how much you can potentially receive in workers’ comp benefits and find out how to fight for your benefits with the help of an attorney.
Pain and Suffering Pay No Part
Before examining your workers’ comp benefits amount, it’s important to clear up a common misconception. Unlike other types of personal injury damages, workers’ comp does not cover mental pain and suffering. These benefits are only meant to cover your inability to work due to physical pain. Being unable to work due to psychological pain will not be covered by workers’ comp benefits.
Weekly Benefit Amounts
When you receive workers’ comp benefits, you will be paid weekly. However, the length of time you receive your payments depends on the extent of your injuries and when, or if, you’re able to return to work full time. There are four different types of workers’ comp payments: temporary partial disability, temporary total disability, permanent partial disability and permanent total disability.
Temporary disability means that someone is in the process of healing from their injury; permanent disability indicates that a person has already recovered as far as they can. When a worker is totally disabled, regardless of the length, it means that they can’t work at all. Partial disability means their injury is limited, and that the injured party may be able to work while they heal.
How Long Will Your Workers’ Comp Benefits Last?
The amount of time that you will receive workers’ comp benefits depends on the state in which you live and the extent of your injury. If you are receiving temporary benefits, there is generally a cut-off point between three and seven years. Permanent disability benefits, on the other hand, usually don’t expire, but some states remove these benefits when a person reaches retirement age.
The level of your benefits is based on your level of disability. If you are determined to be totally disabled, you would typically receive 60% or 66% of the average weekly wage (AWW) that you earned before your injury. Your AWW includes your total earnings, including your overtime. This number is divided by the number of weeks before your injury, up to fifty-two weeks. However, you should know that weekly compensation is usually capped at $1,000.
For partial disabilities, your weekly benefits will generally be 60% of what you are now able to earn while working with your disability. So, if your AWW was $1,500 before your injury and you can now only earn $750 AWW, your weekly compensation would be 60% of $750, or $450.
It’s also possible for you to receive a payment for a permanent disability. For example, let’s say workers’ comp in your state offers $200,000 for the total loss of use of a leg, and your doctor has determined you’ve lost 50% loss of function in one of your legs. This means you may receive $100,000 for your disability — $200,000 times 50%.
Expenses that May Be Covered
You are entitled to have your medical expenses covered if they result from a workplace injury. However, if your injuries are taking an extended period of time to heal, your insurer may fight paying for these benefits, which means you will have to file a lawsuit to get your expenses paid. During this suit, you will need to prove the extent of your injuries and that they are still healing.
If you are unable to return to your old job, you may be able to receive vocational rehab at no personal expense. Vocational rehab will train you to do a new job so that you can return to work.
Seek Legal Representation
If you’re having trouble receiving your workers’ comp benefits, you need help the legal team at Harris and Graves, Personal Injury Attorneys. We will fight on your behalf and help you get the benefits that you deserve.