Average Workers’ Compensation Settlement Amounts & How To Determine Them
The average worker’s compensation settlement differs depending on the severity of the injuries and the employee’s ability to return to work. The dollar figure of your workers’ compensation benefits depends on a myriad of factors.
The bottom line is that injured workers have the right to disability benefits if their workplace injury prevents them from working. We’d caution you from working with any workers’ comp attorney who would promise a specific dollar, figure though.
Reputable law firms like Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo will offer a free consultation where they can gather more information about your case to set reasonable expectations for your workers’ comp benefits. To get started on your free consultation, call us or start a live chat on our site.
Average Workers Comp Settlement Amounts
Statistics show that the average amount for a workers’ compensation settlement is around $20,000, but there is quite a bit of variability in that figure and quite a few disclaimers that go along it.
If you have a work injury, you won’t just receive a lump sum payment for that amount. It’s likely that your settlement offer would be much lower, depending on the severity of your injury. For severe injuries, like brain injuries, amputations, severe burns, vision loss, structured settlements may exceed that number through periodic payments based on your needs, for example.
If you are able to return to work quickly without a permanent impairment, your settlement could be much lower than that estimate. It’s really difficult to predict because every case is different. We’ll go into more detail on that in the next section, but here are some guides that can help for specific injuries:
- Average workers’ comp settlements for knee injuries
- Average workers’ comp settlements for back injuries
- Average workers’ comp settlements for neck injuries
- Average workers’ comp settlements for head injuries
- Average workers’ comp settlements for eye injuries
- Average workers’ comp settlements for foot injuries
The best advice we can give is to establish an attorney-client relationship with a trustworthy law firm and use expert legal advice to guide your decision making.
Generalizing Workers’ Compensation Claims Is Difficult
Work injuries range so widely that it’s difficult to place a precise figure on any workers’ comp claim. For instance, most employees who suffer broken bones, soft tissue injuries, burns, or other injuries can eventually return to work. Some workers suffer a permanent injury that prevents them from doing the same job they did before the accident.
There are even workers’ compensation cases where workers can never return to work. In tragic cases, a worker dies while doing his or her job.
Insurers must calculate your benefits according to the standards set by your state. If they fail this duty, they can be ordered to pay 10% interest, pay any underpayments, and may even be ordered to pay your legal fees and a 50% penalty.
Workers who file for a hearing and appeal negative decisions often obtain higher workers’ compensation settlement amounts than those who accept the insurance company’s initial offer. Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney definitely boosts your odds of getting a higher settlement.
But before you do that, you need to know what you’re getting into. We’ll take you through what you’re entitled to, how the severity of the work-related injury affects benefits, how settlements are calculated, and some settlement estimates based on our experience.
Workers Compensation Payment Amounts for Medical Care
Medical benefits for injured employees are generally include payment for all reasonable, necessary and related medical costs.
Workers have the right to see doctors who can maximize their medical treatment. They are also guaranteed access to health professionals for future medical care after their condition has stabilized so that their condition doesn’t worsen. In many cases, these future medical expenses can be factored in to the overall compensation.
Keep in mind– if you opt for lump sum one time payments, you waive your right to re-open the workers’ comp case in the future, meaning that you will be responsible for your own medical bills if your condition worsens down the road. If you do not yet have an idea how your injury will impact your life in the future, opt for ‘structured payments’ that come for a period of time weekly or bi-weekly.
The average worker’s comp settlement accounts for the following costs:
- ER care
- Hospital surgeries and treatments
- Physician visits
- Time with physical therapists and other health professionals
- Medical devices
Other medical expenses can also be included in your injury settlement, but know that these are always taken into account.
How the Average Weekly Wage Is Calculated
It is crucial to make sure your payout for weekly wages is calculated correctly.
The precise amount can depend on how many weeks you worked. It may vary if you get paid a yearly salary, an hourly wage, or some other financial arrangement. Adjustments may be considered if you work where there are downtimes that result in lower pay, like if you work a job that is highly seasonal.
The “average weekly wage” figure is based on your gross salary. This means there aren’t any deductions for taxes or union dues.
The salary should include the details that can add up such as:
- Incentive pay
- Profit sharing
- Room and board
- Vacation pay
- Sick pay
- Maternity pay
- Exercised stock options
Your lawyer should help you file the correct workers’ compensation forms, including a statement of wages, online and on paper with the Department of Labor and Industry. Getting this figure right is essential to determine wage loss so you can get appropriate disability payments.
Average Workers’ Comp Payouts for Workers Who Can Return to Work
Workers who can eventually return to work are considered to have a temporary disability, whether it be a temporary total disability or a partial disability.
During the time they are out of work, The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act authorizes payment on a scale based on percentages of earnings.
As an experienced work injury lawyer can explain, some adjustments may apply. These adjustments include a cap on the maximum you can receive, depending on how much you earned.
In Pennsylvania in 2019, for example, Department of Labor and Industry payout adjustments are capped at $1,049. Workers who earn less than this sum may be entitled to more than 2/3 depending on how much they earned.
Average Workers Comp Settlement Amounts for Permanent Partial Disability
Some workers suffer a partial disability. This means they are working with a loss of earnings due to injuries.
For example, you could regularly lift 50 lbs. Your doctor tells you that you now can return to “light duty,” provided you only lift objects weighing less than 20 lbs. Fortunately, your employer has light work, but it pays less than the $900 a week you were earning and only pays $600 per week.
In this situation, a worker is entitled to 2/3 of the difference ($900-$600 = $300) or 2/3 of $300 which is $200 per week. As with a total disability, the worker’s comp settlement may be capped.
There is no minimum compensation rate for partial disability. In Pennsylvania, after 104 weeks of payments, an employer can request that a physician chosen by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation assign you an “impairment rating.” If the rating is below 35%, the period of entitlement can be capped.
Average Workers’ Comp Settlements for Total Permanent Disability
Workers who lose a limb are entitled to an average weekly compensation settlement based on the specific body part.
For example, a worker who has a hand amputated is entitled to a percentage of his/her “average weekly wage” for 335 weeks. The loss of a toe results in 40 weeks of a percentage of pay.
The length of the settlement payout for each type of disability is outlined in the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Workers who lose their hearing or sight or suffer a serious permanent facial or neck disfigurement are also entitled compensation for a preset number of weeks.
Workers with a partial or permanent total disability may be entitled to a lump sum settlement.
Average Compensation Settlements For Deaths
Generally, the immediate family members of workers who die are entitled to payment for funeral costs up to $7500. These death benefits are for spouses as well as any minor and dependent children of the deceased worker.
Generally, a surviving spouse can collect benefits indefinitely, with limited exceptions.
In some cases, dependent parents, children in college or a trade school, and adult children with disabilities may be entitled to death benefits.
Contact Us To Estimate Your Workers’ Comp Settlement
The workers’ comp lawyers at Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo have the experience and resources to help you get a fair settlement based on your average weekly wage.
Our attorneys will hold workers’ compensation insurance companies accountable if they try to underpay you and we will work with your doctor to determine the severity of your injury. We’ll work with you to make sure all medical bills and lost wages are accounted for in your workers’ comp case.
Get an initial consultation, at no cost to you, with our workers’ compensation lawyers. Call 844-243-4808 today or start a chat on our website to get your free consultation started.