Are you considering pursuing a workers comp claim? In that case, you may want to look into indemnity in workers’ compensation benefits. This can be really helpful if an accident has left you with a disability that stops you from working. The indemnity benefits would provide a financial cushion to compensate for the lost wages you would have earned if you worked.
While the above-mentioned description of indemnity in workers’ compensation is simple, there is more to it. So, are you eligible for indemnity benefits when filing a workers’ comp claim? Let us find out.
What is Indemnity in Workers’ Compensation?
Indemnity benefits cover the lost wages you will continue to receive while recovering from a work-related illness or injury. The lost wages include money you would have received every month as a salary if you worked. Now that an injury at work has left you disabled, you will not be able to receive the wages. This is where indemnity in workers’ compensation steps in.
However, these benefits will be valid only till you are recuperating from the debilitating injury limiting your earning potential. Each state has its own limits and guidelines on how much a worker can get for indemnity benefits.
For instance, in California, you can collect indemnity benefits for two years or 104 weeks. Once you have reached this limit, the state will either cancel or reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
Two Types of Indemnity Benefits
There are two types of indemnity that you might qualify for depending on your condition and the nature of the injury.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
This type of indemnity benefit is applicable when you get medical clearance to work on a part-time basis while healing from your injury. You will receive your full salary for all the hours you work in a day, while TPD will cover the rest of the hours so you can collect your total compensation as usual by the end of each month.
For example, if you used to work 8 hours a day before the injury, but now you can only work 4 hours every day. In that case, your employer will pay you for 4 hours while indemnity in workers’ compensation will cover the wages for the rest of the 4 hours each day.
Permanent Indemnity Benefits
If a work-related injury has left you permanently disabled, you may be eligible for permanent indemnity benefits. These benefits are applicable if you have recovered enough to perform some sort of work, but you will have a partial disability for the rest of your life. This is also known as permanent total disability (PTD).
How Long Does it Take to Receive Indemnity Benefits?
The time duration to receive your indemnity for workers’ compensation depends on how long it takes for you to submit the claim and receive approval. Typically, it can take up to 2 weeks for you to receive these benefits.
However, to ensure that everything goes smoothly and you get the benefits you deserve, it is best to seek assistance from a local attorney specializing in workers’ comp law.
State Governed Indemnity Benefits
The state governs the payment of indemnity benefits. A workers’ compensation board in each state determines a schedule of payments. This schedule dictates the compensation amount a claimant will receive. There is also a maximum limit on how much you can receive in indemnity.
Suppose you are a highly paid employee and your weekly salary is more than the state’s maximum limit. In that case, you will only receive the maximum amount set forth by the state.
Average Weekly Wages
Apart from the benefits scheduled by the state, the indemnity payment depends on your average weekly wages. This amount can vary, as each state has a different weekly wage limit. For example, the state of California calculates the average weekly wage by taking the total wages you received last year and dividing this amount by 52.
Average Weekly Wage in California = Total wages you earned last year / 52
Determining Your Disability
The extent of your disability plays a critical role in determining its nature. For example, if you lose an arm, you will be eligible for 200 weeks of lost wages. Suppose that the state determines that you will still be able to work and only lose 40% of your arm’s usage. In that case, you will only be eligible to receive up to 80 weeks of indemnity in workers’ compensation.
In another scenario, you sustained an arm injury, which only recuperated to a maximum of 10% of its full usage ability after two years of physician’s evaluation. In this case, you will be eligible to receive up to 10% of your full 200 weeks of indemnity benefits or additional lost wages for 20 more weeks.
Calculating Your Indemnity in Workers’ Compensation
The payment for indemnity benefits may vary by state. However, here is a general way to calculate and get an idea about how much you can expect to receive in compensation.
First, you should multiply your average weekly wage with the percentage of your disability. Now, compare this amount with your state’s maximum or minimum limit in the schedule of benefits. You may receive the full wage if the total sum you are getting is within the state’s limit. However, if your answer exceeds the state’s maximum limit, you will only receive compensation of up to the state’s limit and nothing more.
In some exceptional cases, your state may compare average weekly wages with statewide average weekly wages. What if your salaries are outside of the statewide weekly wage average? In that case, the state may use another calculation to determine how much you are eligible to receive.
Filing Your Indemnity in Workers’ Compensation Claim with James Latimer
If you are a resident of California considering filing an indemnity benefits claim, James Latimer at Latimer Law can help.
Simply call us on 510-444-6555 and ask any questions you may have about your indemnity in workers’ compensation benefits. You can also book a free consultation and find out the value of your claim.