In most cases, the amount you can expect from your workers’ compensation claim depends on your average weekly wage. To calculate your average weekly wage, the state workers’ compensation board will:
- Multiply your daily wage by 260, which is the number of days a full-time employee would work in a year
- Then divide that amount by 52, the number of weeks per year
- The resulting number is your average weekly wage
There are a few factors that can affect your average weekly wage, which can subsequently impact your workers’ compensation claim. They include:
- Your employment status e.g., full-time, part-time, etc.
- Your employment period and weekly schedule
- Whether your employer has been in the industry for at least a year
Determining How Much You Can Expect from Your Claim
It is crucial to note that the disability weekly payout you receive depends on whether your injury or illness is a partial or total disability. Now that you know how to calculate your average weekly wage, we can determine how much you may receive in weekly benefits per the four types of disability payments.
- Permanent total disability: this employee, who is completely unable to work, would receive 60 percent or ⅔ of their average weekly wage until retirement.
- Permanent partial disability: they may receive 60 percent (or the state’s total disability percentage) of their current average weekly wage for a specified number of weeks.
- Temporary total disability: it is calculated based on a percentage of the employee’s average weekly wage for the period of their temporary disability.
- Temporary partial disability: the injured employee receives a percentage of their current average weekly wage for a specified number of weeks.
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Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Are Entitled to Receive
You should note that you have a limited time to report your injuries to your employer, typically capped within 30 days of the workplace accident or diagnosis. Failure to do so can result in losing your right to compensation, as detailed by the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) Title 34 Appendix § 61. The workers’ compensation act provides financial support to injured employees as allowable by state laws. The benefits you may be entitled to are as follows:
Most employees who file a workers’ compensation claim receive complete medical coverage. It pays for treating the occupational illness or injury you sustained as a result of doing your job. It covers areas that include assistive devices, doctor visits, home nursing care, medication, hospital treatment, medical laboratory and diagnostic tests, and physical therapy. Once you are eligible for this medical coverage, you will continue to receive the benefits until you recover from your injuries.
These benefits replace a portion of your wages while you are unable to work permanently or for a stipulated period. Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may be eligible for one of the following:
- Permanent total disability: here, the employee has sustained a permanent injury that will continue indefinitely or result in death. The injury severely and completely impacts their ability to work at any type of employment. As a result, they cannot earn any income by performing their pre-injury tasks.
- Permanent partial disability: the worker has suffered a permanent injury, such as a hearing loss, but can perform light-duty work. Since a partially disabled employee can still work in a modified capacity or at least part-time, their weekly payout is calculated by reducing their average weekly wage to reflect their current earning capacity.
- Temporary total disability: here, the employee is completely disabled by a workplace injury and is unable to work for a stipulated period. Thus, if they suffer a vertebral compression fracture and cannot work for 14 weeks, they will receive these benefits until they recover and return to work.
- Temporary partial disability: when an employee sustains a short-term injury that only permits them to work with limitations, they may qualify for temporary partial disability. For example, if the employee breaks an arm due to a workplace injury, they can work part-time until they recover and resume their full duties.
If you cannot return to your previous line of work after a workplace injury or occupational illness, your employer’s insurer may pay for retraining into a new line of work.
According to the AFL-CIO, 4764 Americans died on the job in 2020 and another 120,000 died from occupational diseases. If an employee dies as a result of a workplace injury or disease, their spouse, minor children, and other dependents receive death benefits. The insurer also covers the burial costs.
There Are No Benefits for Pain and Suffering
Though workplace injuries come with a great deal of pain and suffering, workers’ compensation laws do not provide additional benefits for pain and suffering. Since it is an income protection law, you may receive one of the disability benefits due to your inability to work. If pain prevents you from working permanently or temporarily, and you qualify for disability benefits, you will receive a weekly disability payout, but no additional compensation, specifically for pain and suffering.
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How to Prepare Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Have you become temporarily or permanently disabled at work? Being diagnosed with a workplace injury or disease is only the beginning. Understanding the benefits that you are entitled to is also important. Filing a complete and accurate workers’ compensation claim, however, is entirely different.
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
Your employer has a responsibility to you after you become injured or ill at work. You also have responsibilities. Your eligibility depends on you:
- Reporting your disability on time. Your employer may have specific paperwork you must complete and submit along with proof of your condition.
- Getting medical attention from the appropriate physician. You may have a preferred primary health care provider. The care you receive related to your workers’ comp case, though, must come from the physician of your employer’s choosing.
You have the right to consult with and hire a lawyer prior to filing your claim. They can help clarify the application process and the benefits you are due.
Compile the Necessary Documents and Evidence
Your application will require a plethora of documents and medical evidence that substantiate your injury claim. Gathering them beforehand can make the application process easier. They can include:
- WC-14 Form
- Health care records
- Related medical bills
- Receipts for prescription medications
- Employment records
- Income and earnings statements
- Additional information as requested
- Written diagnosis and prognosis
This is an important, yet complex, step. Your medical records can be difficult to amass since they may come from a variety of health care providers and facilities. Ongoing treatment or being diagnosed with a permanent disability can also make these records complicated.
Your lawyer will review your application and all attachments for accuracy and completion.
File Your Workers’ Comp Claim
Form WC-14 is critical to your claim, so check and double-check it for completion. Your lawyer can help with this form. It should contain detailed information on your injury and treatment protocol. This form should also note:
- Whether you are requesting a hearing or mediation
- The specific types of benefits you are requesting
With assistance from your workers’ comp attorney, file your claim via the appropriate venue. You should also send copies of your claim to your employer and their insurance provider. The lawyer who represents you can ensure all appropriate parties are notified.
Know What to Expect
Waiting to hear the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim can be stressful. You will be notified in a timely fashion if your claim is approved. Do not neglect your medical care before, during, or after the application process. Your ongoing eligibility will depend in large part on your continuing to make all doctor’s appointments.
You are also required to return to work when you are deemed eligible to do so by your health care provider. You may be required to do a different kind of work but must comply whenever possible.
If your application for benefits is denied, you can appeal the decision by requesting a hearing. The law firm that handles your case can explain how to request a hearing and what the appeals process entails.
Learn More About Workers’ Compensation from Bader Scott Injury Lawyers
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be emotionally draining and stressful. You may want a personal injury law firm like Bader Scott Injury Lawyers to help you navigate the process and fight for the settlement you deserve. To learn more about the amount to expect from your workers’ compensation claim, contact us today to discuss your concerns with a member of our team in a free consultation.