Every workers’ compensation case depends on various factors, such as your current medical bills, your need for future medical treatment, the severity and permanency of your injury or illness, and your income. Your lawyer will calculate your workers’ compensation by placing a dollar value on all these factors and adding them together to reach a proposed settlement amount. They will present this proposal to the insurance company that holds the workers’ compensation policy for your employer.
The insurance company also will perform an independent calculation of the financial benefits that you should receive. Your lawyer and the insurance company may engage in negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable workers’ compensation settlement amount. Although arriving at a settlement is a business decision for the insurance company, that settlement directly impacts your financial stability and future.
Factors That Impact Workers’ Compensation Settlement Amounts
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the average workers’ compensation settlement in 2017-2018 was $41,003. This figure comes from an NSC analysis of data that the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) compiled. The costliest type of workers’ compensation, by far, resulted from employees suffering injuries in motor vehicle accidents, with an average claim of $78,466.
Type and Permanency of Your Injuries
The extent, nature, and permanency of your injuries affect the amount of workers’ compensation benefits that you might receive for your injuries. For example, the NSC analysis also revealed that the costliest injuries were permanent, such as limb amputation or paralysis.
Likewise, costlier injuries also include those that impact the head and central nervous system, which might end up untreatable and result in long-term impairments. If you will unlikely need future medical treatment and suffer no permanent disabilities, or can adapt and do another job despite your impairment, the value of your claim will likely be less than for someone whose injuries have left them permanently disabled and unable to work.
Expenses for Necessary Medical Treatment
Workers’ compensation benefits cover reasonable and necessary costs of medical treatment related to your injury or illness. Examples of reasonable and necessary medical treatment include:
- Doctor’s appointments
- Diagnostic testing
- Medical devices
- Rehabilitation services
- Physical therapy
However, if you receive treatment unnecessary for your work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation is unlikely to cover it. Likewise, alternative forms of treatment, such as chiropractic care or acupuncture, also might not fall within the category of reasonable and necessary medical expenses. As some injuries or illnesses are more severe than others, they likely will require more treatment at a higher cost, which increases the value of a workers’ compensation claim.
Income and Your Wage Replacement Benefits
Besides medical expenses, another component of workers’ compensation benefits is wage replacement benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Although workers’ compensation policies typically do not cover all your lost income following a work-related injury or illness, they usually will cover about two-thirds of your average wages.
However, many state laws place limits on the minimum and maximum amount of wage replacement benefits that you can receive from workers’ compensation. As a result, you could receive less than or more than two-thirds of your regular wages in some instances.
The amount of your wage replacement benefit also differs depending on the length of time that your injuries or illness impacts your regular work duties and schedule. For example, wage replacement benefits could vary widely if your injury or disorder leaves you permanently unable to work, temporarily unable to work, or able to work on light duty due to partial disability, perhaps at a reduced rate of pay or hours.
As a result, the extent of your wage replacement benefits will affect how your lawyer will calculate your workers’ compensation benefits.
Let Us Help You Calculate Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Calculating workers’ compensation benefits can be a complex task, as the overall value of a claim depends on so many different factors. The severity of your injuries, their impact on your ability to work, and the amount of your wages all influence the amount of a workers’ compensation benefit. Therefore, every claim is quite different.
Furthermore, the insurance company handling your claim might not agree with your doctor’s assessment of the extent of your injuries, the permanency or degree of your impairment, or the necessity of some medical treatments.
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, our attorneys and staff members stand ready to analyze the circumstances surrounding your workers’ compensation claim and gather documentation to support every aspect of your request. Call our team today at (800) 603-4224 and get more information about how to properly value your workers’ compensation claim. You can have us handle the details of your claim while you focus on your recovery.