When you are injured at work, you may be entitled to disability benefits while you recover. Scheduled injuries – typically injuries to the extremities – translate into a maximum number of weeks of benefits for injured workers. The amount of benefits an employee will receive depends on various factors such as the employee’s average weekly wage and the compensation rate, the body part injured, and the impairment rating.
Average Weekly Wage Calculation
The average weekly wage is defined as an employee’s average weekly earnings at the time of the injury. States use different approaches to calculate the average weekly wage, which may include upper and lower limits or other considerations such as the period of employment.
If, for example, a longtime employee is injured on the job, their employer may calculate his or her average weekly earnings using their last 12 months of income. If an employee earned 52K over a 12 month period, his or her weekly would be $1000 a week when dividing by 52 weeks in a year. States will then reduce the average weekly rate by the compensation rate, often 66.66%, for a total of $666.66 in compensation ($1,000 x 66.66%) not to exceed the maximum limit.
Number of Weeks Disability Benefits
Scheduled injuries are those that have a specific number of weeks of benefits that may be paid to an injured worker. An injured worker may be paid for the loss of, or loss of use, of a scheduled body part such as a leg, arm, hand, toe, finger, ear or eye.
For example, if an employee has a total loss or disability (either in function or amputation) of an arm, they may be entitled to 312 weeks of the applicable compensation rate (312 weeks x $666.66 using our example). If, however, the employee retains some use of the arm, say 50%, the number of weeks benefits are payable will be reduced by half (312 weeks x $666.66 x 50%).
The employee’s physician will often assign the worker a percentage impairment rating to calculate benefits, factoring in range of motion, pain, future medical treatment, and overall impact on the activities of daily living. What criteria is included in an evaluation varies from state to state. The impairment rating will factor into the the disability rating, adjusted up or down depending on the laws in the state.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
When you or a family member has been injured at work, it is important to understand that your employer’s insurance company is working to reduce the compensation they will have to pay. Therefore, it is in your best interests to work with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can pursue the maximum benefit on your behalf, leaving no stone unturned. Contact the Davenport Iowa workers compensation lawyers of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC for more information today at 563-355-6478.