Suffering an injury at work is more than just the physical pain that it brings to your life. While you may fully or partially recover from the injury the devastation of the medical bills and other financial costs is often irreparable. It can put all your plans into a fix, be it education of your kids or the retirement plans that made over the years. While all the losses you suffer can never be compensated, the workers’ compensation law is meant to help you tide over this crisis and build it all over again.
This brings us to an important question. How much is typical worker’s compensation settlement?
This is in fact the first question that an injured worker is likely to ask worker’s compensation attorney in Oakland. To break your heart now, there is no clear answer to this question as the amount of settlement you are likely to receive post your injury would depend on host of factors including how your employer and their insurer act upon your claim. It isn’t uncommon for two workers with similar injuries and similar wage loses to be handed out different settlements.
Types of Benefits for Injured Workers
Before you go ahead filing your compensation claim it is important for you to understand the types of benefits that you are entitled under workers’ compensation law. The benefits offered under this law can be divided into five broad categories:
- Wage losses
- Medical cost reimbursement
- Permanent impairment benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits
No Guaranteed Settlement
As someone who is planning to file for workers’ compensation benefits it is important for you to bear in mind that there is no guaranteed settlement. In fact this is one of the myths that several injured works tend to believe. The meaning of the term ‘settlement’ is an understanding between two parties (in this case you and the insurer) and there are no templates for settlement. In fact the very question of settlement arises when there is a dispute. You have the option of receiving your benefits quickly if you are willing to accept what is being offered by the insurer. Here too there are no guarantees!
Factor Affecting Settlement
Let us now turn our attention to the factors that affect workers’ compensation settlement amounts as there are several factors that you need to bear in mind –
- Medical Impartment Rating– This is one of the most important factors taken into consideration while calculating settlement amount. Workers’ compensation law categorises four types of disabilities: temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent total disability and permanent partial disability. Your final compensation amount and the wage losses would be calculated based on the impairment rating.
- Average Weekly Wage – Since you need to be compensated for the wage losses, your average weekly wage prior to the injury would be calculated. This is calculated based on the wages you have received over the 52 weeks prior to your injury. Wage loss compensation is typically two-third of your AAW. There are few other factors that may affect it but in most cases insurers follow the two-third rule.
- Work Restrictions – This is an important consideration in compensation calculation. In case of severe injuries where you suffer mobility issues or loss of eyesight, hearing impairment you may have severe restrictions in terms of resuming in your earlier role. In such cases you are likely to receive wage loss compensation for a longer duration. The insurer also needs to compensate you for vocational training which will allow you to reskill yourself and start a new career.
- Payments Received – Workers compensation disputes can last years and in such instances you may already be receiving benefits for your temporary disability. Hence the final settlement would factor in the benefits that you have already received.
- Medical Evidence – If your case goes into trial medical evidence would be one of the most important factors determining the final compensation amount. If you can back your case with strong medical evidence you are likely to earn a higher compensation. The reverse is equally true and if you can’t back your claims you are likely to suffer a heart break.
Insurers would explore every loophole to keep compensation amount low and they are likely to challenge your injury and treatment to deny you the rightful amount. This is where it becomes important for you to work with a top-rated worker’s compensation attorney in Oakland, who will ensure that your rights are protected and you receive maximum possible compensation amount.