Your workers’ compensation benefits may be a percentage of your income before the accident. If you are permanently disabled, you may be entitled to payments for the rest of your life.
What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Can Receive
You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to cover your lost income and permanent disability, but not always pain and suffering. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company should cover all reasonable medical expenses related to your injury or illness. You may also be entitled to vocational rehabilitation to help you find employment in a different field.
What Type of Disability You Have
The amount of compensation you will be eligible for will depend on what type of disability you have. According to The Balance Small Business, it could be temporary or permanent and partial or total. If you have a temporary disability, that means that you are expected to recover. If you are permanently disabled, your recovery is not expected to progress beyond the point of maximum medical improvement.
If you are totally disabled, that means that you cannot work at any job. If you have a partial disability, you may be able to return to your old job on a part-time basis or on light duty, or you may be able to find a new job in a different field.
How Your Benefits Will Be Calculated If You Have a Temporary Disability
If you are totally disabled, but your disability is expected to be temporary, you may be entitled to time loss compensation. State laws vary, but your benefits are a percentage of your gross earnings before you were involved in the accident that left you unable to work.
If your employer contributed to your health insurance premiums before you were hurt and has stopped paying those premiums, the amount of money the company had paid for your insurance coverage may be counted in your wages. If your state’s law allows that, you may receive larger workers’ compensation benefits than you would be entitled to if only your regular salary or hourly wages were considered.
If you return to work part-time or on light duty and you earn less than you did before you were injured, you may be entitled to payments for loss of earning power. If you live in a state that permits such payments, you may receive additional compensation to make up some of the difference between your workers’ compensation benefits and your previous earnings.
How You Can Be Compensated for a Permanent Disability
If you have been declared totally and permanently disabled and are unable to work at any job, your workers’ compensation claim may be closed. Therefore, you may be entitled to a pension for the rest of your life.
Your earnings (including overtime pay) over weeks prior to the accident can be used to calculate your average weekly wage, and your workers’ compensation benefits will be a percentage of that. Your state’s law may limit weekly workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of your average weekly wage.
Your pension benefits may be less than the time loss compensation benefits you received when your claim was open. After you die, your surviving spouse may be able to continue to collect your benefits.
If you are permanently and partially disabled, your benefits may be calculated based on a percentage of your reduced earning capacity, since you are still able to work in some fashion. You may receive a lump sum, or you may choose to collect payments on a weekly basis. In some states, you may be able to work out a structured settlement that will divide a sum of money you are entitled to into payments over a period of several years.
The amount may be calculated based on a percentage of your prior income or your percentage of disability. If you have a permanent impairment, your state’s law may allow a certain level of compensation for total impairment, and you may be entitled to a percentage of that amount for a partial disability.
How Long You Can Collect Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Your state’s laws can limit the length of time you are eligible for temporary disability benefits. Some states do not limit the amount of time a person may collect permanent disability benefits, but others do. In some states, injured workers are not entitled to permanent partial disability benefits.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation laws can vary from state to state in several key areas. An attorney can help you handle workers’ compensation cases, explain the relevant state laws, and guide you through the process of filing a claim and appealing a denial, if necessary.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, has a team of attorneys who have represented clients across the United States in workers’ compensation cases. Call us today at (800) 603-4224 to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.