Understanding Workers’ Compensation Settlements
The average value for a workers’ compensation settlement is $42,008. But for a few reasons, this is not a reliable ‘average’ value for a workers’ compensation settlement. Settlements can range from $2,000 up to $40,000, or even into the millions in rare cases. Because all injuries are different, the average payout is not the best gauge of how much you can expect to receive if you settle. For example, the medical expenses alone for an injury that requires surgical care will likely be much higher than injuries that do not require such corrective action. As such, there is no “one size fits all” settlement. In this article, we will walk you through the basics of workers compensation, the settlement and claims process, and finally break down settlements by injury type.
Please be advised that the information below is loosely general. All workers compensation cases are unique, and for a more accurate evaluation of your case, please reach out to us today for your free consultation. We express our sincerest condolences to you for your injury, and look forward to supporting you through this difficult time. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is ready to put our award winning team to work for you.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers compensation is the support you are entitled to if you are a Pennsylvania resident and you are injured while at work. According to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, this coverage extends to nearly all types of laborers— seasonal, part time, and full time included. The aim of workers compensation laws is to cover your medical expenses and help get you back on your feet during the healing process.
Workers compensation extends to all types of injuries, and is awarded based on the severity of your injury. Although any injury type, no matter how minor, may qualify you to receive your benefits, the level of support you will receive will be determined by how serious your injury is.
If your injury is extensive, you may need to file for total disability. In this situation, it is expected that your injuries completely prevent you from working. When you file for total disability, you will receive the lower value of either two thirds of your pre-injury wages or $1205.00 per week if your injury occurred on or after January 1st, 2022. If your injury occurred before January 1st 2022, your payment ceiling may be different. Each year, this value is calculated based on a number of different variables by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. To view past payment ceilings, please review the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s payment schedules.
If you are still able to work, but at a reduced capacity, then you will be filing for partial or temporary disability. For partial or temporary disability, your payout will be proportional to the amount your injury limits your ability to work. If your injury reduced the number of hours you were able to work by half, you will be allotted to receive a third of your pre-injury weekly wages or $397.65.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers compensation benefits cover four main categories as enumerated below
- They will protect your wages. While you are recovering from your injury and are unable to work, you can expect to continue earning a portion of the payment you were earning before the injury.
- Workers’ compensation benefits will cover your medical care. Even if you have insurance, you likely will still face a number of medical costs. Workers’ compensation can help take care of the cost of not only your care and treatment but also other medical costs such as medical devices such as mobility aids, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and even in some cases travel to and from doctors appointments.
- Workers’ compensation benefits include vocational rehabilitation services, which will help you return to work after your injury. Some specific services you could enroll for include on the job training, employment searches, and even interview prep.
- Finally, workers’ compensation benefits also include death support, should an injury be so severe as to result in death. Death support will compensate the deceased’s family for their loss of life and cover all associated funeral and burial costs.
What is Settling?
Settling is the first phase of a dispute. When proposing a settlement value, parties will negotiate with each other to try to resolve a dispute. When they can not agree, the case will be brought to court.
In the case of a workers’ compensation dispute, often, settlements are in both parties’ best interests. This is largely because parties have the opportunity to represent their own interests when they decide what value to accept as fair. In court, a final decision will be rendered by a judge, who often seeks a neutral outcome. Additionally, settlements are reached more quickly than cases brought to court.
In workers’ compensation disputes, you can expect your employers’ insurance company to propose an offer. From there, the victim will review it and propose a counter offer.
For workers’ compensation claims, there are two payment forms that settlements come in. They are outlined below.
- First, a lump sum payment. This is a payment that comes all together in one sum, and is intended to be inclusive of the victim’s total medical benefits included by the claim. In some states, those seeking workers’ compensation benefits may have to agree not to claim further benefits for the injury.
- Second, a structured payment. This is a payment that comes over a set amount of time.
How Can I Calculate a Fair Settlement?
The value of a case should reflect a cumulative amount in dollars you expect to need workers’ compensation benefits for. The weekly amount of money you can receive in disability would be calculated by taking the lowest value of either ⅔ of your weekly pre-injury wages or $1205.00 per week (for injuries occurring after January 1st, 2022) and multiplying that by the number of weeks you anticipate needing to claim your benefits for.
What Are Some Average Settlements By Injury Type?
According to the National Safety Council, the largest average settlement by injury type is the amputation of a limb at $115,000, followed by an injury to the neck or central nervous system at $90,000.
- Knee injury, $34,003.
- Leg injury, $59,683.
- Hand, finger, or wrist injury $25,233.
- Neck injury $58,507.
For more injury type averages, please visit the NSC website.
How Can I Know If I Should Settle?
The best way to know if you should settle or pursue litigation is to work with a lawyer, who can advise you on your chances at the best outcome. Our staff here at Munely Law are some of the brightest in the workers’ compensation law industry, and have been ranked nationally by the Best Laws in America. Our team has over 60 years of experience, and has won multiple multi million settlement claims. We will advise you to the best of our abilities at no financial risk to you; we get paid only when we win. To get an expert opinion, reach out to us today for your free consultation on your case.