Workers Compensation Benefits
You may receive wage benefits if your company has workers compensation insurance, and if you have been injured at work to a point where you’re no longer able to continue work. These benefits are meant to replace a portion of the earnings you would have made if not burdened with illness or injury. Wage benefits make it possible to continue paying your bills, support dependents, and maintain a somewhat normal lifestyle in lieu of your illness or injury. In the event that a loved one has been fatally injured at the workplace, dependents of the victim are covered by death benefits under workers compensation law.
Under work comp, wage benefits only cover a fraction of what you earned before you filed the claim. Of course, it varies from state to state – some states may allow up to 80% of your original salary, while others might offer 60-75%. The number of dependents you have factors into the end percentage of your wage benefits. It’s important to know how to calculate the amount of wage benefits you should receive according to your state laws, as insurance companies can make mistakes; the percentage will most likely be taken from your average weekly wage (post taxes), which is determined by the highest 39 weeks out of the 52 weeks before your workplace injury or illness. Because the calculation takes your post-taxed wage into account, your wage benefits are not subject to state or federal taxes. A qualified workers compensation lawyer can assure that you’re receiving the right amount of wage benefits.
In addition to covering lost earnings, workers compensation will also provide medical benefits for injuries or illnesses sustained in the workplace. You will receive immediate care under your benefits, along with other medical expenses needed to help you recover such as treatment, rehabilitative therapy, and lump sum payments if you suffer permanent disability (total or partial). Despite filing the correct form for your medical benefits, your employer may try to dispute your workers compensation claim. The best defense is thorough documentation: medical records, working conditions, written records such as emails, statements, written company policy, and any other evidence that can prove your case. It’s quicker and easier to get your ducks in a row with the help of an experienced workers compensation attorney.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
If you are partially disabled for life, you will receive permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits under your company’s workers compensation insurance. The Social Security Administration generally assumes that you will be able to return to work, but in a limited capacity that results in lower earnings. Permanent partial disability benefits can last up to 500 weeks after the time in which you were injured or diagnosed.
Some of the most commonly reported cases of permanent partial disabilities include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Nerve damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of sight in one eye
- Loss of appendage, such as a finger or arm
Permanent partial disability benefits not only cover physical disability, but mental, emotional, or any combination thereof. The Social Security Administration defines PPD as an impairment that stunts a worker’s ability to carry out normal job tasks for a lifetime. A seasoned workers compensation attorney will help define the state and federal PPD laws, gather the proper documentation, and make sure that you’re receiving the benefits that you need and deserve.