I’m you’re injured at work, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits through your employer. When your injuries are serious enough to prevent you from returning to your job for a certain period of time, you should be able to receive a certain percentage of your normal paycheck as compensation.
You might wonder if you can get full pay based on your regular income after a work injury. In most cases, workers’ comp payments only account for a portion of what you were paid before. The exact benefits you can receive depends on where you live, the seriousness of your injuries, and whether or not you can return to work.
You should know that no matter what the insurance company offers you, you may have other options. If the initial offer is not enough, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you seek a settlement that better covers your medical treatment costs.
What Type of Pay Can I Expect After an Injury at Work?
There are typically four types of benefits you can get after an injury at work:
- Weekly compensation
- Permanent impairment benefits
- Medical benefits
- Rehabilitation support
The benefits you receive will depend on the details of your injuries and how they impact your ability to work.
Weekly Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If your work injury prevents you from working for more than seven days, you should be eligible for weekly compensation benefits. In Georgia, these are paid at two-thirds (or 66%) of your average weekly wage (AWW) and cap out at $575 per week (Georgia Code section 34-9-261). This amount may vary in other states, and the weekly cap can change per year.
Your AWW is calculated by figuring your average earnings over a certain number of weeks prior to your work injury.
So, workers’ compensation benefits do not provide full pay while you’re away from work for your injuries—but they do account for two-thirds of your regular wage.
Partial Disability Payments
If you have a partial disability, meaning you are assumed able to perform light or part-time work, your benefits will be calculated slightly differently. What you receive would be calculated by subtracting your current earnings (or earning capacity) from your previous AWW. Then, that number would be multiplied by two-thirds.
For example, if you were previously making $1,000 per week and can currently earn $600, the difference would be $400, and two-thirds of $400 would be $240 per week for partial disability benefits.
How Long Can I Get Pay After a Work Injury?
The amount of time you can receive these weekly benefits depends on the severity of your disability. Your disability must be classified as:
- Temporary or permanent and
- Total or partial
This means you could have a:
- Temporary total disability or temporary partial disability where your injuries are still recovering and you’re expected to get better
- Permanent total disability or permanent partial disability where your condition is not expected to improve
If you have a partial disability, it means you have the ability to perform some types of work (typically, light or sedentary activities). Total disability means you are unable to work at any type of job.
What if I Have a Permanent Impairment?
Permanent impairments that are not expected to get better, such as loss of limb or another body part, permanent back injury, or loss of hearing, are sometimes referred to as reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI). When you are permanently impaired from a work accident, you are typically able to pursue longer and higher benefits.
Permanent impairments may receive an impairment rating that helps determine how much compensation the injured worker will receive. To qualify for long-term benefits, your impairment will have to affect your ability to work as you did before. The Summary of State Board of Workers’ Compensation Provisions provides benefits for a certain number of weeks depending on which body part the loss of limb or loss of use applies.
Timeline for Weekly Payments After a Work Injury
Depending on how seriously you were injured, you might qualify to receive weekly workers’ compensation for up to 400 weeks from the date of your injury. Otherwise, you may continue to receive benefits until you are able to return to work.
What Other Pay Can I Receive if I’m Injured at Work?
If you are injured at work, you are entitled to have any necessary medical treatment paid for. This includes costs or transportation to and from appointments and vocational rehabilitation if you are unable to return to your previous job.
However, it’s common to run into issues if your employer or the insurance company believes your treatment has gone on too long or the treatment you’re receiving is not acceptable, such as alternatives treatments.
If the insurance company thinks your treatment is not necessary or reasonable, they may refuse to pay for it. You would then need to fill out a WC-14 form with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. It’s also a good idea to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you fight for your rights.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free Today
After being injured at work, you have the right to seek benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. While workers’ comp does not pay the full amount you were making before, it should cover a portion of your weekly pay—and you may be able to seek higher compensation through a settlement.
Our workers’ compensation lawyers at John Foy & Associates can help. Contact us today for a FREE consultation to go over your case and the best options for you. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to schedule your FREE consultation today.