If you have been injured at work, you need someone to fight for your rights. Workers' compensation is a very complicated area of the law and your employer, and their workers' compensation insurance carrier, know that you lack the experience and know-how to protect your rights. One of the most common things I hear from clients is that their manager told them they don't have a claim for one reason or another, or they are intimidated into not getting treatment and benefits they are entitled to receive. Surprisingly, it's usually this bullying tactic that sends employees into my office looking for help!
Don't let your employer or their insurance carrier push you around and deprive you of the treatment and financial compensation you are entitled to receive. Call me and I will personally discuss your workers' compensation claim for free. I do not get paid unless I make a financial recovery for you. What do you have to lose by not calling? Every single dollar you are entitled to under the workers' compensation act is what you stand to lose. Time is money - you better get GOING.
Average Weekly Wage
Workers' compensation benefits are based, in part, on your average weekly wage, or AWW. Your average weekly wage is calculated differently depending on which state you file your claim. For example, if you are a full time employee in Illinois, your average weekly wage is calculated by taking your pay for the 52 weeks preceding the pay period in which you were injured, and dividing by the the weeks, and parts thereof, you actually worked. There are many other consideration such as if you had secondary employment at the time of your injury, if you worked part-time, whether overtime was mandatory, etc.
If you were a full time employee in Missouri at the time of your injury, your average weekly wage is calculated by taking your pay for the 13 weeks preceding the week in which you were injured and dividing by the weeks and days you actually worked.
Average weekly wage is used to calculate benefits such as Temporary Total Disability, Temporary Partial Disability, and Permanent Partial Disability.
Workers' Compensation Benefits and Rates
Temporary Total Disability
If you are unable to work due to an injury arising out of and occurring during the course of your employment, you should be receiving temporary total disability (TTD) benefits during your absence. In Illinois, TTD benefits are paid at the rate of 2/3 your average weekly wage (see above). You will not be paid TTD for the first three days you are off of work unless you miss a total of fourteen days. Workers' compensation insurance carriers are notorious for denying and/or miscalculating temporary total disability benefits. Although 2/3 of your average weekly wage is easy to determine, the actual calculation of average weekly wage, as briefly explained above, can be very complicated.
Temporary Partial Disability
There are times when an injured worker has not fully recovered from his/her injuries, but the worker's doctor allows them to return to work with restrictions, in a different capacity, or on a part-time basis. When this happens, Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits are paid at the rate of 2/3 of the difference between what the worker made before the injury and what they make now. For example, John Doe was making $400 per week before the accident, but now is only able to return to work for 10 hours per week, thus making $100 per week. TPD would be calculated by taking the difference between what John used to make, $400 per week, and what he makes now, $100 per week, a difference of $300, and then multiplying by 2/3. Given this example, John would receive $100 per week from his employer plus another $200 in Temporary Partial Disability benefits, for a total of $300. Keep in mind, this amount is tax free.
Permanent Partial Disability
Many people do not recover 100% from their on-the-job injuries. If this happens, you may be eligible for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits, which is usually a lump sum payment. PPD benefits are based on the parts of your body which were injured, the number of weeks each part is valued, and the loss of use of those body parts. These factors are the core of your PPD settlement, and a very technical and complex calculation is necessary to determine your benefit amount. PPD rates in Illinois are paid at 60% of your average weekly wage, see above, multiplied by the loss of use to your particular body part/s. For example, let's say you injure your hand at work resulting in 20% loss of use and you have an average weekly wage rate of $600. In Illinois, a hand has a total value of 205 weeks. As such, the calcuation is 20% x 205 x 2/3rds of $600, for a total of $16,400. Remember, the PPD rate in Illinois is 60% of your average weekly wage. So, assuming your average weekly wage is $600, your PPD benefit would be $16,400.
The PPD calculation is very similar in Missouri, the difference being that PPD is calculated at 2/3 of your average weekly wage instead of 60%.