Damages in a Worker's Compensation Claim
If you are injured due to an accident that took place on work grounds or became ill due to inhospitable working conditions and are now unable to work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
These benefits are offered through an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, and if you elect to receive them, you agree to not sue your employer for your injuries in civil court.
There are certain damages you are entitled to through workers’ compensation, and certain damages that are not covered by this type of benefit.
Covered: Lost Potential Earnings
You are entitled to the lost potential earnings from being unable to work with your injury, and this is paid in the form of weekly compensation. Your lost potential earnings depend on the state you live and work in, and it also depends on if your disability is temporary or permanent and total or partial.
Temporary disability means that you are still recovering from your injury and expected to be able to return to life as usual. Permanent disability means you are stable, yet not expected to improve. This is called meeting your maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Total disability means you cannot reasonably hold any type of employment as a result of your injury, while partial disability means that there is still some form of work that you are able to do.
Your benefits, based on your situation, can therefore be one of four options:
- Temporary total disability
- Temporary partial disability
- Permanent total disability
- Permanent partial disability
The limits for weekly compensation are between 3 to 7 years for temporary disabilities and forever for permanent disabilities. Usually, you are awarded 60% of your average weekly wage from before you were injured, and this is capped at $1,000 per week in most states.
Covered: Medical Expenses
Workers’ compensation also covers all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to your injury. You can also be reimbursed for travel to and from appointments related to this medical treatment.
Covered: Permanent Impairment Benefits
Most states set specific monetary benefits for certain specific injuries that are usually severe and irreversible. For example, you could be eligible for a $100,000 payout if you permanently lose use of your hand.
Covered: Vocational Rehabilitation
If you are permanently disabled and cannot return to the work you previously performed, workers’ compensation can also be used to pay for job retraining in a new line of work.
This will be helpful if you are not eligible to receive lasting benefits.
Not Covered: General Pain and Suffering
Unlike other personal injury claims, such as slip-and-fall cases and car accidents, you are not eligible for pain and suffering damages through workers’ compensation.
This is because workers’ compensation benefits are considered income protection, and therefore can only cover employment- or medical-related costs.
Hire a Lawyer
You should always hire a lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation cases.
A lawyer will help you file your claim, gather the evidence you need, and ensure that you maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you need.