How much does workers' compensation pay for my lost wages?

When you lose time from work due to a workers' comp accident, you may be entitled to lost wages. The amount that you are due is based on several different factors. In the majority of cases, lost wages are calculated based on an average of what you were making in the 13 weeks before the accident. So if you work in an industry that has a busy and a slow season, how much you are paid in workers' comp benefits may vary dramatically based on how busy you were in the months before the accident. There are alternative calculation methods that may be used in calculating your earnings. This average figure upon which your WC checks are based is called your "average weekly wage."

The workers' compensation insurance company (the "carrier") is the entity that is responsible for sending you your lost wages checks. The checks they send you are determined by how much your Employer says you were earning and what the workers' comp doctors say about your work abilities. If your workers' compensation doctor says that you are incapable of any type of work at all, you get paid at what is called the "temporary total disability" rate. This rate is 2/3 of your average weekly wage, unless you qualify for catastrophic disability benefits. If your doctor restricts your work and your employer doesn't have any work within your restrictions, then you get temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits are paid at 64% of your average weekly wage if there are no earnings. There is a formula to apply to calculate workers' comp checks if you have limited earnings.

These temporary benefits that you receive from the carrier are typically paid until one of several things happen : (1) you reach maximum medical improvement from an injury, (2) you are able to make at least 80% of what you were making at the time of the accident, or (3) you are put at full duty by the workers' comp doctor. Once the temporary benefits stop, the majority of injured workers receive very little, if any, further monetary compensation. There are exceptions, which a qualified attorney should be able to explain to you.

The above explanation is a very basic thumbnail sketch of workers' compensation benefits. The exact benefits that you are entitled to depend on numerous factors and possible exceptions to general rules. If you don't want to rely on an insurance company to explain your rights to you, contact the Trial Professionals. You pay us nothing, unless we secure a recovery on your behalf.


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