One of the most common questions that workers’ compensation attorneys are asked is, “How much will I receive?” The answer is often surprising to those who ask. Perhaps one explanation is that they are thinking about some of the large personal injury settlements they heard about in the news.
In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect both employees and employers. Most every employee must be covered from day one of employment. If an employee is injured on the job, no matter what the circumstances, that employee must be covered.
Settlements in personal injury cases are generally calculated based on a number of factors that may include the negligence of someone other than the injured party or shared fault; the severity of the injury, associated medical expenses, term of recovery or permanent injury, pain and suffering and more. Many factors are taken into account that may dramatically increase settlement amount.
A safety net, not permanent support
Workers‘ compensation settlements are calculated differently. In general terms, they cover related medical expenses for injuries sustained on the job and loss of wages (actually about 66 2/3% of your gross pay) during the recovery period. Sometimes a worker may receive a bit more or less depending upon the ability to return to work in even a partial capacity. Workers’ compensation benefits are considered short-term benefits, because they are designed to sustain injured workers—like a safety net or lifeline—for a period of time that will enable them to recover and return to work. That’s why a typical workers’ compensation settlement is based on an amount designed to sustain the injured worker over a two- to five-year period.
“Lump sum” isn’t like winning a lottery
In Pennsylvania, injured workers with a lasting impairment can negotiate a lump-sum settlement that includes recovery of unreimbursed medical expenses and other disputed amounts, instead of receiving weekly benefit payments—that means weekly checks will be replaced by one final payment. Once this kind of settlement is reached, the injured worker cannot receive additional benefits for the injury.
There are a number of factors that will impact the settlement amount in a workers’ compensation case. That’s why it is extremely important to speak with a qualified, experienced workers’ compensation attorney in order to receive the maximum amount to which you are entitled.
As mentioned earlier, workers’ compensation benefits are designed as temporary or short-term benefits. Inherently, that represents a smaller overall figure than a settlement calculated to provide compensation for a severe, permanent injury that will dramatically affect the injured party’s entire life as well as his or her ability to ever work again.
If you’ve been injured on the job, and can’t work, it doesn’t make sense to gamble with your future—especially if you have a family to provide for. Instead, speak with an experienced attorney at Martin Law who will help you determine the best course of action.