Loss of Speech and Workers' Compensation

Becoming injured on the job is devastating. Covering your monthly expenses, keeping yourself and those who depend on you fed, and watching bills pile up can become a taxing mental strain. If you’re hurt on the job, you may qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer.

Workers’ compensation benefits are obligatory by the order of the law in each state for the vast majority of employers. It helps provide for workers who are injured on the job. It can help you with the cost of prescriptions, doctor visits, surgery, and even speech therapy. For hurt workers who may not be able to work because of their injury, workers’ compensation is able to provide a portion of their lost wages. To summarize, workers’ compensation allows for workers to fall back onto a much-needed safety net.

Loss of Speech

It’s uncommon, and some may not personally even consider it an injury, but loss of the ability to speak is a condition covered by workers’ compensation. Losing your ability to speak entails anything from a decrease in the volume of your voice to becoming completely incomprehensible. This condition can decrease the job prospects of those who work in call centers, radio stations, and other jobs reliant upon the ability to communicate.

However, communications jobs aren’t necessarily susceptible to voice loss. Workers handling chemicals in industrial plants can contract brain damage and develop conditions, such as Parkinson’s Disease, that inhibit motor and speaking functions. Regardless, this condition is covered by workers’ compensation, which can help workers to persevere in the face of their dire straits.

Pain and Suffering

One of the most frequent questions posed by injured workers is whether or not they’re entitled to damages for their pain and suffering. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Damages for pain and suffering are simply not covered by workers’ compensation. It is important to remember that workers’ compensation does provide many helpful benefits to workers injured on the job. However, to make sure you receive all of the benefits you deserve, you should consider taking the time to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

Help with Medical Expenses

If you’ve been injured on the job, one of the main benefits you could receive is help with your medical costs. This can include prescriptions, physical therapy, surgery, chemical treatments, and other procedures.

Payment of Wages

If you’re unable to work due to your condition, you may be able to receive some of your lost wages though workers’ compensation.

Job Training

If your speech impediment means that you will be unable to continue working in your current field, you may qualify for skill training from workers’ compensation in order to help you learn a new skill set and return to the workforce in a new job.

How Much Is a WC Claim for Loss of Speech

There are many reasons why you may lose your speech while at work. The most obvious is exposure to chemicals used in the workplace and exposure to secondhand smoke from cigarettes.

If you have lost your voice and you are unable to return to work until it has been restored, you may be entitled to workers’ comp. while you are waiting to speak again.

Cost of Loss of Speech

Being able to communicate at work using your voice is one of the most important assets you have. Without it restricts your ability to communicate with both co-workers and supervisors.

If you need help or you need to help someone else at work your speech is the best and most effective way of doing this. If you are unable to do this you will need to take time off work to recover and regain your ability to speak.

Workers’ comp. will cover you for all your medical treatment and typically about two thirds of your wages while you are unable to work.

Help with Medical Costs

All the treatment that is given to you by your physician to treat your loss of speech will be included in your workers’ compensation payments.

This includes out of pocket expenses to get to your treatment provider and help with any communication you may need because you have lost your speech. In summary, the medical treatment paid should include the following:

  • visits to your physicians;
  • lab tests;
  • speech therapy sessions;
  • surgery if required;
  • prescriptions.

Payment of Wages

If you are going to be off work for a while and your workers’ compensation has been approved you can expect to be paid two thirds of your weekly wage until you return to work. You will need to provide your last pay slip when you file a workers’ comp. claim.

Cost of Re-training

If it is unlikely your loss of speech is going to be restored so that you can do your current job you may be able to undertake re-training in a skill that you are able to do with your speech problem.

Payment for this training should be included in your workers’ comp. You will need your physician’s report and your employer’s report to support your need for retraining.

How to Calculate How Much a Loss of Speech Can Cost for a Claim

If you are off work because your disability is a total disability, what you get for your wages depends on how much you usually earn and what state you live in. For example, if you live in Pennsylvania and your weekly income is from $768.76 to $1,537.50, you can expect to receive 66 2/3 % of your weekly payments.

From $569.44 to $768.75, you will get $512.50 and if it is less than this amount you should get 90% of your pay.

Partial Disability Payments Are Possible for Loss of Speech

If your speech loss never gets fully restored, there may be a light duty job you can do at your workplace. If this pays a lower amount than your previous wage you might be able to get it topped up with a partial disability payment.

This works out to be around 2/3 of the difference between the two wages. This could be paid up to 500 weeks.

Example of WC Claim For Loss of Speech

If you are totally disabled for 12 weeks and your weekly income is $800, 2/3 of $800 = $533 x 12 = $6,396

Medical Expenses

2 X doctor’s visits = $250

X-rays x 2=$300

Blood test = $200

Prescription medications = $200

Speech therapist x 12 =12X $150 = $1,800

Out of pocket expenses such as help with communication = $1,000

Total amount payable in workers’ compensation = $10,096

Lump Sum Settlements for Workers’ Compensation for Loss of Speech

If you prefer, you may be able to get your workers’ comp. payments paid in a lump sum. The settlement would be based on the same factors as weekly payments.

You will need accurate calculations for medical expenses now and into the future and the same calculation for wages. The lump sum payment can’t be more than your likely weekly work compensation benefits x 500 weeks.

You May Need a WC Attorney

It is never easy winning a favorable workers’ comp. settlement as your employer will try to pretend that your loss of speech isn’t anything to do with your job. A workers’ comp. attorney will make sure you have all the evidence available to prove the loss of speech was due to your job and will help to ensure you get the WC you are entitled to.

Don’t Face the Insurance Company Alone

To ensure that you receive all of the workers’ compensation benefits for your speech loss that you rightfully deserve, do not delay and file a workers' compensation claim as soon as possible. With legal help, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can deal with the insurance company on your behalf.