Determining how much compensation the average workers’ compensation settlement is can be a rather loaded question. In general, there is no average settlement regarding Pennsylvania workers’ compensation as it will largely depend on the severity of the injuries incurred in the workplace. However, there are ways we can estimate how much workers’ compensation you may be entitled to. The workers’ comp lawyers of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys explain.
How to Determine the Average Workers’ Compensation Settlement
To determine the average workers’ compensation settlement amount, you need to consider the various benefits you may receive after a workplace injury. The benefits include the following:
After a workplace injury, you will likely amass some expenses related to the injury. Part of your workers’ comp settlement will include coverage for medical costs, meaning any medical expense related to the injury. These are not limited to a dollar amount and should cover co-pays and deductibles. Further, it can be used on doctor’s appointments, blood work, ER visits, medication, medical equipment, and follow-up care.
In some cases, if you need to modify your vehicle to accommodate your injury, that expense would also be included here.
If you are forced to be out of work following the injury, you will be entitled to a percentage of your wages, known as disability benefits. There are two forms of disability benefits, temporary and permanent, which are determined based on the amount of time you’ll have to be out of work.
You may be entitled to specific loss benefits for injuries that resulted in the loss of a body part, loss of hearing/vision, or permanent disfigurement of the neck, head, or face.
You can collect specific loss payments even if the injury you incurred does not keep you out of work. To collect specific loss payments, you need to report the injury within 120 days of its occurrence and submit a workers’ comp claim.
Under Pennsylvania’s workers’ comp laws and regulations, you are entitled to the following specific loss payments for your injury:
- Loss of a hand: 335 weeks of payments
- Loss of a thumb: 100 weeks of payments
- Loss of an eye: 275 weeks of payments
- Loss of a foot: 250 weeks of payments
- Loss of a leg: 410 weeks of payments
- Permanent loss of hearing in both ears: 260 weeks of payments
Not all workers’ compensation benefits are for the injured. If you die as a result of a workplace accident, your loved ones will be eligible for death benefits under your workers’ comp claim. These benefits also include the price of a burial, up to $3,000.
Death benefits are paid to the surviving family members dependent on the deceased. This can include a spouse, minor children, a dependent adult child, or a dependent parent. Benefits are paid to a spouse until they remarry or to a child(ren) until they turn 23 or enrolled in a full-time accredited school.
Death benefits must be paid within 300 weeks of the injury or exposure, and a petition for the death benefits must be filed within three years of the worker’s death.
Understanding the Difference of Temporary Total Disability and Partial Disability Settlements
Though all of the aforementioned benefits will dictate the need for temporary total disability or partial disability settlements, determine an average workers’ compensation settlement, a large portion of that.
A temporary partial disability benefit is paid when the employee returns to work at lower wages than before the injury. It indicates that you can perform light-duty work but are not fully recovered.
Under partial disability, you are paid less than your normal wage but are entitled to up to two-thirds of the pay difference based on an average weekly wage. You cannot exceed the wages you would have made before the injury.
You can only collect partial disability for 500 weeks, but those weeks need not be consecutive.
Conversely, under a temporary total disability, workers who cannot return to work for any temporary time can collect benefits. After 104 weeks of being on total disability, your employer may require you to be reevaluated to determine if you can return to work. If you are less than 35 percent impaired, you will begin receiving partial disability benefits if you return to the job.
What Happens if I Cannot Return to Work?
If you cannot return to work, you may be eligible for permanent total disability. This is determined via the impairment rating evaluation (IRE). You must be at least 35 percent impaired with no expectation of improvement, meaning you have met the maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Under permanent total disability, you can collect wages equal to about two-thirds of your weekly pay.
How Much Can I Expect To Collect on Workers’ Comp?
Once you know if you’ll be eligible for temporary total or temporary partial disability or if you have suffered a permanent disability, it will determine what the average workers’ compensation settlement will be.
Studies suggest the average workers’ compensation settlement is around $20,000, but it ultimately comes down to the severity and sometimes location of your injuries.
Once you have determined the type of disability you qualify for and settlements have been negotiated, you’ll have to determine how you want the settlement paid out.
You have two options: lump-sum or structured.
You may find the lump sum settlement in your best interest if you have reached the maximum medical improvement and no longer wish to undergo the disability process.
However, there are benefits to a structured settlement as there are tax implications for a lump sum, and for some people, having all of their money at once makes it harder to manage.
Regardless of the form you pick, a workers’ compensation attorney can negotiate with the insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation you need to move forward.
Injured at Work? Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help.
If you were injured at work and are now struggling to keep up with your medical bills because of lost wages and fear you may not be able to return to work, the workers’ compensation attorneys of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys are here for you.
We know how difficult it can be to recover from a physical and financial workplace injury. Our attorneys will do everything possible to secure the compensation you need to recover.
We will review the specific facts of your injury, the medical documentation, and the long-term prognosis and guide you through your best options for financial recovery.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we don’t believe finances should keep someone from seeking the legal help they need. This is why we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing upfront and only pay us if we win a verdict or settlement on your behalf.
For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact the workers’ compensation lawyers of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today.