How much is my work comp case worth?
Do I get a settlement in my work comp case? How much is my work comp case worth?
It’s sometimes surprising to me, as someone who has been handling work comp cases for nearly a decade, to hear that people aren’t aware of the fact that they can get a settlement at the end of their work comp case. Sometimes, that settlement is a significant amount of money. Often times, I see unrepresented workers go through the work comp process (injured at work and treating through employer-provided medical care) with the work comp insurance company not mentioning a settlement. I guess it’s not surprising why the insurance company doesn’t bring it up….they don’t want to pay it!
So, here’s the deal. The workers’ comp insurance company is responsible for your ultimate disability from your injury, known in the business as PPD or permanent partial disability. Your settlement is based on three things:
What part of your body was injured? This determines the number of weeks of compensation possible. Your back, head, neck = 400. Your knee, 160 weeks. Your elbow, 210 weeks. The list goes on and sometimes it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's the law. See the “body chart” above to determine what number applies.
How much money were you making per week at the time of your injury? Take that number and multiply it by 2/3. Then look at the wage chart below and find the wage for your date of injury and the column titled “PPD Max”. Is your 2/3 wage higher than the PPD Max listed in the column? If so, then you’re capped out at the Max rate listed. If you’re lower than the PPD Max, then use that rate.
What is the severity of your injury? This is stressed in terms of a percentage of disability to the body part affected. The more severe the injury and the longer the residual effects of the injury, the higher the percentage. So a sprain or strain could be anywhere from 5% to 12.5%, depending on the degree of injury. A fracture is typically more severe than a strain. Surgery to repair a fracture or ligament tear is typically higher than a simple fracture, and so on. Sometimes, we need to hire a doctor to give his or her opinion on your degree of disability. Other times, in simpler injuries or those injuries which I’ve handled many, many before, we can compare and avoid the need for a doctor’s opinion.
At the end of the day, it becomes a math problem. Say, for example, you sustained a torn meniscus in your knee on June 23, 2017. You made $1000 per week at your job. After you’ve recovered, you’re left with a 25% disability to your knee. Your settlement could be as follows:
Wage Rate: $1,000 x 2/3 = $666.66. This is higher than the max rate for June of 2017, so you are “capped” at $477.33 per the chart.
Injured Body Part: Knee = 160 Weeks.
Disability Percentage: 25%.
Settlement = $477.33 x 160 x .25 = $19,093.20
My goal, as a workers’ compensation Claimant’s attorney, is to (a) get you the medical care you need and are entitled to under the law and (b) get you the maximum amount of benefits you are entitled to as a settlement at the end of your case.
If you have questions about your injury, how much your case is worth or are struggling with an insurance company or the lawyer hired by the insurance company, call me for a free, no-obligation discussion about your case. If I can’t help you, I can at least give you some tips and tricks to get your case on track. And if I can help you, I work on these cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe any attorney’s fees until I settle your case. Nothing out of pocket and let me do the dirty work for you.