How much you will receive per week on workers’ compensation is based on several factors. In the event an injured worker is unable to return to work because of her occupational accident, the law allows the injured employee to receive “indemnity benefits.” These benefits are tax free and are received on a weekly basis. The rate upon which these benefits are calculated is based upon the injured worker’s “average weekly wage” (AWW). To determine the AWW, the insurance company first looks at the worker’s past 13 weeks of earnings. The insurance company averages the earnings to determine the AWW.
Secondly, the law allows the insurance company to pay the injured employee 2/3rds of the AWW. For example, if the injured employee’s AWW is $535, her workers’ compensation rate would be $356.69. However, the law does provide a cap on the amount a worker may receive on a weekly basis. This “cap” depends on the date of accident. If the injured employee’s date of accident is after July 1, 2013, then the maximum workers’ compensation rate would be $525 per week. For example, if the disabled workers’ AWW is $1500 per week, the gross workers’ compensation rate would be $1000.05, but the maximum weekly benefit he or she may be entitled to would be $525. In many instances, it would be prudent to verify the AWW as the insurance companies will have no incentive to correct a potential mistake unless prompted by the hurt employee.
If the treating physician releases the injured employee to “light duty” work status but there is no work available for the employee, the insurance may be eligible to reduce the total disability rate to a lower partial disability payment after some time. The insurance company would have to file certain board forms and the employee’s light duty status must continue in accordance to the workers’ compensation code.
If you have any questions about your entitlement to workers’ compensation, please contact Ramos & Law for your free consultation.