If you get injured at work, you have coverage for your damages through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. In addition, you have the right to make a claim to help cover your medical bills and receive compensation if you can’t return to work for a certain period.
Many injured workers wonder just how much they can expect from their workers’ compensation claims. The answer depends on your injuries, what the insurance company offers, and whether you use the services of a workers’ compensation lawyer. Here’s what you need to know about what you can expect from your claim.
How Workers’ Compensation Claims Get Paid
Most workers who make workers’ compensation claims receive some sort of payout, but the amounts can vary. You will typically either receive compensation through:
- A settlement you and the insurance company have agreed to for your claim, or
- An award ordered by a workers’ compensation judge during a hearing
You are legally entitled to access workers’ compensation benefits if you get hurt at work. However, workers’ compensation gets provided by an insurance company, and insurers do not like paying out much on claims.
As a result, they may offer you much less than you deserve in their first offer, and you and your workers’ compensation lawyer may need to negotiate for a fair settlement amount. If you and the insurance company cannot agree on a settlement, you may need to schedule a hearing before a judge.
You might be able to get what you deserve from the hearing, but you also risk getting a much smaller award based on what the judge decides. If you are unhappy with the judge’s decision, you may have the option to appeal to the Board’s Appellate Division.
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Receiving Benefits While You’re Unable to Work
If your work injury prevents you from returning to work for at least seven days, you have the right to receive weekly payments at two-thirds of your regular average weekly wage. However, this amount caps at $575 per week.
You may receive these benefits for up to 400 weeks, but it depends on how severe your injuries are and your degree of disability. Most workers’ compensation settlements or awards are given for those who are permanently disabled, meaning they can no longer work at all because of their injuries.
If you have a temporary disability, you can receive weekly workers’ compensation payments during the time you need to miss work while you’re recovering. Your coverage should also directly pay for your medical costs while your claim is in progress.
Average Amounts for Workers’ Compensation Settlements
Research shows the average workers’ compensation for injuries is around $21,800. However, the exact amount varies per person, and sometimes, a settlement can be much higher.
The best way to know for sure how much you can expect from your claim is by talking to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. Your lawyer can evaluate:
- The seriousness of your injuries
- The degree to which they prevent you from working
- Whether the insurance company’s offer is fair to you
Workers’ compensation policies have a pretty poor reputation of paying out low amounts to injured workers. Having legal assistance from a lawyer gives you the best chance of a settlement that will compensate you fairly for your injuries and how they have affected your life.
When looking at how much you can expect to receive, you’ll need to consider any weekly disability payments, as well as a settlement or award you might receive.
Next, you and your lawyer will need to consider the total costs of your work injuries and how they will affect your life, currently and in the future. Then, you can get a clear picture of what compensation you will need.
What Gets Factored Into Workers’ Compensation Settlements
Workers’ compensation settlements don’t work in the same way as a personal injury settlement. Workers’ compensation typically only covers:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Wrongful death
So, while workers’ compensation benefits are often fast and don’t require going to court, it is still relatively limited in the damages you can seek a settlement for. Workers’ compensation does not cover damages such as pain and suffering.
In addition, workers’ compensation benefits are also no-fault, which means that how your accident happened doesn’t matter. As long as you got hurt on the job and sustained injuries, you can file a claim.
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Can I Get Non-Economic Damages?
While many workplace injuries do involve pain and suffering, or other non-economic damages, workers’ compensation does not pay additional benefits for these. Pain may prevent you from returning to work, and you can get compensated for that, but you don’t get additional money for it.
This differs from a personal injury claim. If your injuries happened because of an egregious act of negligence or deliberate harm toward you, you may be able to sue your employer directly to get non-economic damages. However, this is rare and you’ll need to speak to an attorney first.
What About Vocational Rehabilitation?
Some disabled people still want to keep working. Even with permanent disabilities, people feel more comfortable earning their income through the careers they were familiar with before their disability. However, some disabilities may prevent you from retaining your old job.
You can receive extra money if you need job retraining or post-secondary education because of your injury. If you can still work but can’t return to your old position, the insurer can pay for the training you need to get into a new profession.
Depending on the type of disability you have, you might be able to keep your old job or get assistance with finding a new one. Whether it’s just a hearing aid or some other assistive device, various services are offered by the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA).
Filing an Appeal Can Increase Your Settlement
Besides having a lawyer, appealing the initial offer with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation or requesting a workers’ compensation hearing plays a big part in what you can expect from your claim. Most workers who settle their claims without seeking a higher settlement leave with a lower amount of money than those who appealed their first offer.
Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Help You
Even though workers’ compensation cases seldom go to trial, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire a lawyer if you’re stuck with your claim or get offered the bare minimum. Our lawyers are experienced and dedicated to ensuring that you get the best settlement available for your injury. We will:
- Represent you and your best interests at all times
- Handle the insurance company and make sure they don’t try to lowball you
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- Handle all communications with other parties
If your workers’ compensation claim is going nowhere and you’ve exhausted all your options, allow us to assist you today. We charge nothing up front, and we don’t accept any payment unless we win a settlement for you.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we can help you know what to expect from your workers’ compensation claim based on the details of your injuries. Our workers’ compensation lawyers can also help you appeal and negotiate for a higher settlement or request a hearing to pursue the money you deserve.
Don’t try to handle your case alone. We can help. Get in touch today and schedule a free, no-risk consultation to go over your options and how we can assist you. Call us or contact us online to get started today.