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How Much are My Workers’ Comp Injury Benefits Worth?

Rose Legal, PLLC

I know someone with the same injury who got a lot more workers’ comp injury benefits than I am being offered. Why?

Workers’ comp injury benefits can vary greatly. It is true that in workers’ compensation cases there can be great disparity between two workers, even if they suffered similar injuries. Of course, with medical issues, no two injuries are exactly alike. People have different levels of recovery, different pain tolerances, different genetic characteristics, different nutrition regimens, etc., that all contribute to differences in how each person heals and responds to treatment. But that is only part of the equation for workers’ compensation. The other part is the ‘compensation’ part. Unfortunately, this portion is calculated based on one’s wages at the time of injury. So, the more money you make—the more money you get—for your workers’ comp injury benefits. Let’s look at this comparison:

Bill and Ted are both construction workers. One day, Bill was climbing the ladder and lost his footing and fell 15 feet, landing on Ted. Both Bill and Ted suffered a labrum tear on the right shoulder. They both had the same surgery to repair the damage. They both missed 6 months of work while waiting for and recovering from the surgery. Both of them had all their medical bills paid by workers’ comp. They both got a 5% impairment rating from the doctor for the permanent partial disability they suffered.

However, when they compared the checks that they received for the 6 months of missed wages that they had lost, Ted was shocked. Bill’s lost wages checks added up to $23,686, while Ted’s were only $5,200. And then when they compared the checks they received for the permanent disability. Ted was double shocked. Totally. Bill received $9,531.60 for his 5% impairment rating, while Ted only received $3,120 for the same 5% rating to his shoulder. This is because the wages and impairment payment are based on earnings at the time of injury instead of the severity of the injury alone. Bill works 40 hours a week at $32 per hour, while Ted works only 20 hours a week at $15 per hour. Bill also has a wife and two kids, while Ted is single with no kids.

Even with the exact same injury, Bill received a total of $32,217.60 while Ted only received $8,320. This is why it is important to talk with your attorney about a realistic expectation of what dollar amounts you can expect to receive for your workers’ comp injury benefits and not rely on other people’s stories of what their cousin got for their injury. Working toward a realistic goal will help in your recovery.

Bill and Ted

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