The goal of workers’ compensation is to provide financial compensation for injured workers and/or their families to collect weekly wage loss benefits for total and partial disability, medical costs, vocational re-retraining expenses, death benefits, funeral costs and other costs associated with being injured on the job. Simply put, workers who are injured within the course and scope of their employment are eligible for benefits.
Common Types of Injuries at Work
- Back and Neck Injuries
- Carpal Tunnel
- Head Injuries
- Torn Rotator Cuff to Shoulder
Types of Benefits
Depending on the nature and severity of a worker’s injuries, the following benefits may be available:
Partial Disability Benefits. These benefits are available to workers who have been injured and, as a result, are limited in the amount or type of work they can perform. The law allows workers to collect 60 percent of wages he or she would have earned but for injury, or 60 percent of what he or she lost as a result of the accident. These benefits are paid weekly. Disfigurement and/or Loss of Function. These benefits are paid when a worker is disfigured or suffers a loss of function of a body part. This could mean anything from a permanent scar on one’s face or neck to a person who has lost function of an arm, leg, eye or other body part.
Total Disability Benefits. This type of benefit is available to workers who cannot perform work as a result of their work injury. Workers who receive total disability benefits may obtain 60 percent of their average weekly pay (with a max amount capped by state law). That weekly amount is determined by averaging what the worker earned in the 52 weeks prior to injury. Workers can receive total disability benefits for up to three years.
Total and Permanent Disability Benefits. State law allows an employee unable to work for an extended time due to a work injury to receive total and permanent disability benefits. This will allow a worker to receive up to 60 percent of weekly pay, as well as an offset for the increase in living expenses due to injury. These type of benefits may be paid throughout the remainder of the worker’s life.
Death Benefits. These are benefits available to surviving spouse and/or children of a worker who died as a result of a work-related injury or illness. Here again, the recovery amount is 60 percent of average weekly wage. There may be other benefits available under this provision as well (i.e., funeral expenses, medical costs, etc.) depending on the circumstances.
If You Receive Worker’s Compensation can you still file a lawsuit? Yes and no. You are NOT allowed to sue your employer from whom you are receiving worker’s compensation benefits. You MAY however be able to bring a claim against any other responsible parties. For example, if you are a truck driver and you are hurt in a motor vehicle accident, you CANNOT sue the company you work for but you MAY be able to sue the driver who caused the accident. If you slipped and fell on a wet floor at work, you CANNOT sue your company but you MAY be able to sue the cleaning company hired to wash the floors and negligently failed to warn workers that the floor was wet. These are two simple examples of the hundreds of different possibilities that exist in many of the worker’s compensation cases we see.
Call Spada Law Group, LLC for more information and to evaluate whether or not you may have a claim.