How Much Does Workers’ Comp Pay You?
Experiencing a workplace injury is stressful enough, not to mention the financial aspect of the situation while you heal. How much you get paid for your workers’ comp claim will depend on calculating your average weekly wage as well as what type of workers’ comp benefits you are eligible for. In some circumstances, you may be awarded a settlement, but generally, the amount you will receive in payment is coverage for lost wages, medical expenses, and disability benefits.
How to Calculate Your Average Weekly Wage and Workers’ Comp Payments
Your workers’ compensation payments and the length of time you are paid will be determined by the laws of the state in which you reside. Your state law will indicate the percentage of your wage that you will be paid. Typically, the weekly benefits for total disability are 60% or two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wage. If you have a partial disability, your benefits will be calculated differently by including any earning capacity you may have.
Consider the following:
You can calculate your average weekly wage by dividing the weeks that you worked, by the total amount that you earned. It is important to use your gross total income when calculating your workers’ comp payments, as workers’ comp benefits are not taxable income, with only a few exceptions.
- If you worked every week of the year (52 weeks) and your total gross income was $26,000, you were paid $500 per week.
- $26,000 total gross income ÷ 52 weeks of the year = $500 per week.
If you were totally disabled and receive 60% of your income:
- 60% = 0.6.
- 0.6 ✕ $500 = $300.
You may expect a weekly payment of $300 for a total disability claim.
If you were partially disabled and were able to continue work at some capacity, your workers’ comp benefits would be reduced from the amount of income you were able to earn.
If your average weekly wage is $500, but your current earning capacity with a part-time or light-duty job or position was $275, your workers’ comp weekly payment could be calculated as such:
- $500-$275 = $225.
- 0.6 ✕ $225 = $135.
You may expect a temporary partial disability payment of $135 per week.
Additionally, it is important to understand that workers’ compensation benefits may not payout at a weekly schedule. Usually, workers’ comp benefits are paid at the usual payroll schedule of your employer, meaning that if you were paid every two weeks, you may receive your workers’ comp benefits every two weeks. Using the previous examples for reference, this would mean that instead of receiving $300 every week, you may receive $600 every two weeks for total disability or $270 every two weeks for partial disability.
Understanding Your Benefits Eligibility
There are different types of benefits that you may qualify for as determined by the severity of your on-the-job injury. This may include short- or long-term disability. Furthermore, your benefits will hinge on whether your claim is currently open or closed.
Open Workers’ Comp Claims
If your workers’ comp claim is open — meaning that it is still active — your benefits will be determined based on whether you will be able to return to work in some capacity. These benefits often include:
- Medical bill payment.
- Time-loss compensation.
- Loss of earning power.
- Temporary partial or total disability.
Closed Workers’ Comp Claims
If your workers’ comp claim is closed — you were declared totally or partially permanently disabled, or you entered a settlement — your benefits may include:
- Medical bill payment.
- Permanent total or partial disability.
- Permanent disability payments.
- A settlement.
Types of Compensation Benefits
The following sections will provide detailed explanations of the different benefits as well as how these different types of compensation benefits can be calculated into your workers’ comp pay.
If you are injured in the workplace, you should apply for workers’ comp immediately; though you do not need to apply before seeking medical care for an emergency. Medical expenses that are a result of your workplace injury should be covered by your employer or your employer’s insurance provider. In most cases, any medical bills incurred from treating your work-place or work-related injury should be billed directly to your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. Any additional workers’ comp benefits should not be impacted by your medical bills. If you receive a bill, you should send it to your employer directly. If you have any issues with your workers’ medical expenses compensation, you should seek legal counsel from a workers’ comp attorney.
Loss of Earning Power/Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD)
Loss of earning power or temporary partial disability is a workers’ compensation benefit that may only be available in certain states. Loss of earning power compensation occurs when you are able to return to work temporarily, on light duty, or take a lower-paying job for income, while you are still healing from your work-place injury. In instances where the loss of earning power benefit occurs, the amount of income earned is deducted from the total amount of your pre-injury average weekly income, but you will still receive a percentage of the income you “lost” while healing from your injury.
Time Loss Compensation/Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD)
Time loss compensation or temporary total disability benefits occur when a worker experiences a temporary total disability that leaves the worker unable to perform or obtain gainful employment. The percentage of your wage that you will be awarded as a workers’ comp benefit will vary by state. In general, the percentage of your wages will be two-thirds or 60% of your average weekly income.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD)
Permanent partial disability benefits are paid when a worker is permanently partially impaired, such as due to the loss of a limb. You are eligible for PPD even if you are receiving other workers’ compensation benefits. Payment for PPD benefits will depend on the severity of the disability (losing a finger as opposed to losing an arm) and an assigned amount of weeks. The weeks you are assigned for your permanent partial disability is commonly multiplied by the wages you are eligible for under the temporary total disability. In some cases, you may not receive payment for your PPD benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD)
Permanent total disability benefits occur when a worker’s injury is severe and has left them permanently disabled to the point that they can no longer return to the workforce. PTD varies by state, and some states have a PTD benefit cap. PTD benefits may also be reduced if a worker qualifies for social security disability insurance. PTD benefits are also commonly referred to as a workers’ compensation pension or a life pension.
Workers’ Compensation Settlement
There are two forms of a workers’ compensation settlement, and they differ in how you will receive payment. How you will be paid will depend upon the settlement agreement. Some workers’ compensation settlements are paid in a lump-sum under the agreement that they will receive a one-time payment from the employer or insurance company and the workers’ comp case will be closed.
In a structured settlement, a worker who experienced a workplace injury is guaranteed continual regular payments after the claim is closed. How much and how often the worker is paid is determined by the terms of the structured settlement agreement.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer
If you were injured at work or suffer from a work-related injury, it is important to file your workers’ comp claim as soon as possible to ensure the earliest payment of your benefits to you. If your workers’ comp claim is denied, or your employer refuses to give you a workers’ comp form, you should find a local attorney to get the benefits you need and deserve.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!