When it comes to workers’ compensation cases, no one case is like the other. It can be hard to predict what amount of damages go along with each case, but certain rules of thumb do help in predicting which cases will offer the highest payout. So, what types of cases receive the most amount of damages?
We have asked lawyer, Alaina Sullivan, and here is what she had to say:
Cases with High Medical Bills
Workers’ compensation covers all medical care needed for an injury sustained while on-the-job. It goes without saying that, the higher the medical bills, the more the benefits. If the injured employee’s injuries require surgery, frequent doctor visits and significant amount of medication, workers’ compensation will cover these bills.
Injuries, such as broken bones or torn ligaments, may require extensive treatment which would obviously make the benefits paid out higher. If the injured employee needs some type of equipment, such as a specialized vehicle or a wheelchair, the costs included would allow for this equipment, as well.
Keep in mind that most state workers’ compensation policies will cover only acceptable medical practices. If the employee wants experimental or investigative treatment, those may not be covered.
Costs for Rehabilitation
In addition, if the injuries the employee sustained require additional rehabilitation treatment, such as physical therapy, the award for workers’ compensation can also increase. Rehabilitation costs include what is needed to care for the injured individual and train him or her to regain the skills and abilities he or she needs to return to the job.
If the injury prevents the person from returning to the former position, rehabilitation benefits can also pay for evaluation, retraining and other expenses needed to help the employee be qualified to work in a different position. These costs are not necessarily medical in nature and are considered separate in the workers’ compensation settlement or award.
Injury Resulting in Disability
Certain injuries make it necessary for workers’ compensation awards to include disability benefits. The purpose of these is to compensate the employee for lost wages due to the injury or illness making it impossible for the employee to work.
Disability is divided into four categories: total, partial, temporary or permanent:
- Temporary Total Disability: This disability category means the employee is injured such that he or she is prevented from working at all, but this disability is only for a limited period of time. The damages award has an “end” date. Most workers’ compensation cases fall under this category. The temporary total disability payments can be high, depending on the injury and the employee’s salary before the incident occurred. However, most states have caps in how high weekly payments can be, so they will be capped at a certain amount.
- Temporary Partial Disability: This disability is one that keeps the employee from performing some of the duties of his or her job for a limited period of time. If the employee’s ability to earn the wage he or she earned before is restricted because of this temporary partial disability, the disability payments can make up for this difference. However, these payments will be smaller in amounts than a total disability payment.
- Permanent Total Disability: This type of disability award tends to be the highest. This level of disability means the employee is prevented from ever returning to work because of injuries sustained. The employee does not need to necessarily be completely incapacitated to be considered permanently totally disabled. It means that he or she is unable permanently to work at his or her job or a similar one.
- Permanent Partial Disability: This award can likewise be significant, and it means that the employee is permanently disabled, but only partially, meaning he or she cannot complete the work expected before to a certain degree.
The disability benefit is based off of the amount the individual was earning prior to the injury. Typically, the amount is based off of two-thirds of the worker’s previous wages. No taxes are paid on these benefits, so the total amount ends up being closer to the “net income” the employee previously earned.
Contact a Lawyer Today
If you are in the process of pursuing workers’ compensation and have questions about what types of cases are valued the highest, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help review your case and discuss your options. A lawyer can listen to the facts of the case and can best advise you on how to proceed.
Contact a lawyer experienced in workers’ compensation law to schedule a consultation today.