After being injured at work, you’ll likely wonder how much you can get through workers’ compensation through your employer. It’s important to know how much your case is worth so you can know if the insurance company’s offer is a good deal. Your lawyer will calculate your workers’ compensation after learning several critical factors in your situation.
A lawyer cannot give a precise estimate of the workers’ compensation you’ll receive without researching your case. That’s why you should schedule a consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you can to get started. Below, we’ll go over what matters when calculating a workers’ compensation claim.
Why Hiring a Lawyer Is Important for Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workers’ compensation claims seldom go to court. There are only a few rare exceptions, but virtually all claims get resolved without a trial. So, you may wonder why it’s even necessary to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in the first place.
If you find yourself in a position where the insurance company or your employer refuses to assist you or offers you significantly less than what you actually deserve, you should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible. While going to trial isn’t likely, a lawyer can help you through other legal avenues and ensure that you’re getting a fair settlement.
Should you feel like the insurance company or your employers are trying to cheat you out of your settlement, the first step is to accurately assess all the damages you can claim under your job’s workers’ compensation benefits. From there, our lawyers can assist you in taking action to win the settlement you deserve.
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Information Needed to Calculate Your Workers’ Compensation Settlement
Your lawyer will need to know the following information:
- The severity of your injuries
- How your injuries impact your ability to perform your job duties, and job duties for any other type of work
- Your age
- The current and future costs of treating your injuries
- How much you were earning at your job before you became injured
- Viewing all your medical records and past pay stubs is also helpful for your lawyer when calculating the workers’ compensation you can receive.
Besides the above factors, your workers’ compensation will also depend on how much the insurance company provides the workers’ compensation benefits plans to pay on your claim.
How Lawyers Calculate How Much Workers’ Compensation Cases Are Worth
Your lawyer will use the factors above and current workers’ compensation laws to develop a number for your workers’ compensation. If you cannot work for a certain period, Georgia has specific rules about what disabled workers can receive through workers’ compensation.
Your lawyer will use workers’ compensation laws and your costs to calculate your workers’ compensation.
Total Disability Benefits
The amount of disability benefits you can receive through workers’ compensation depends on the state laws where you live.
If your injury completely disables you from being able to work for a certain time, your employer should pay you a weekly amount equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages—up to $575 per week under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 34-9-261. You may be able to receive this benefit for up to 400 weeks, depending on the seriousness of your injuries.
Average weekly wages are typically calculated by taking your daily wage and multiplying it by the number of days you worked in a year. Then, that number is divided by 52 to get your average weekly salary.
Partial Disability Benefits
If your injuries prevent you from performing certain types of work, you may be able to return to work doing a job with lighter duties.
However, you would still be able to receive weekly benefits at two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage before you were injured and the average weekly wage you earn after the injury—up to $383 per week for 350 weeks according to OCGA § 34-9-262.
Besides weekly payments for partial or total disability, you can also receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover costs like:
- Medical bills
- Doctor appointments
- Hospital stays
- Prescription medications
- Loss of limb other severe injuries
If you experience a loss of a limb, scarring, or loss of hearing from your work injuries, you may be eligible for other long-term benefits through workers’ compensation.
Workers’ Compensation Settlement
When you file a claim for workers’ compensation, the insurance company may send you an offer detailing the weekly benefits you will receive. In addition, if you qualify to work in a different position based on what your injuries allow you to do, the offer will include those details, too.
Sometimes, what the insurance company offers is not enough to cover your costs. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine if this is the case in your situation. When the offer is not enough, you have the option to seek a lump sum settlement for the costs of your injuries.
To calculate your settlement, your lawyer will consider all factors like:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Specific loss injuries like permanent disfigurement or loss of limb
- Future medical costs
Since these factors can vary so much between cases, there’s no way for a lawyer to give you an accurate number without talking to you and reviewing the details of your situation. An experienced workers’ compensation will be able to tell whether what the insurance company offers is enough to cover your losses and if you should pursue a settlement.
Is There an Average Amount for Workers’ Compensation Settlements?
Every case is unique, but there is some data about average settlement amounts. An analysis of the data from the National Council of Compensation Insurance showed that the average settlement amount was very close to $41,000 in 2017-2018. This number was calculated by the National Safety Council.
Vehicle accident cases at work cost insurance companies the most, with average claims of nearly $78,500 in the same time period. Yet this is just one year of data and there are bound to be outliers. Your case could be worth much more than this, but we won’t know until we calculate your workers’ compensation.
What If I Run Out of Workers’ Compensation?
If your injuries outlast your workers’ compensation payments, chances are you’ll need to turn to Social Security to see if you qualify for disability benefits. Our legal team can help you file for SSDI so that you can continue supporting yourself.
Filing for SSDI takes time, so you may wish to investigate this a few months before your benefits run out.
If you get injured at work, notify your employer as soon as possible, preferably within 30 days, but the earlier, the better. Remember, the statute of limitations for workplace injuries is significantly less than standard personal injury claims. Workers’ compensation claims have a statute of limitations of only one year.
Calculating your damages takes time. While it shouldn’t take your lawyer an extremely long time to calculate your settlement value, that doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to do so. Taking action fast is what’s going to allow you to get fairly compensated.
If you need help to determine what your workers’ compensation case is worth, call John Foy & Associates today. We have been helping injured workers get the settlement they need for over 20 years, and we can help you, too. For a free consultation, where we’ll go over the details of your case and discuss your options, call or contact us online to get started.