One of the most common questions — if not the single most common question — we hear from clients is, “How much is my workers’ comp case worth?” It’s only natural. No matter what else might need to be done to get through a workers’ comp claim, everything is, after all, about the benefits or settlement that you’ll receive in the end.
As you’ve probably already guessed, there is no definitive answer to that question. Every claim is different and the benefits that different people might be entitled to will also be different. There are, however, some general guidelines that will help give you a rough idea of what type of benefits you might expect to receive for Pennsylvania workers’ comp claims filed after different types of workplace injuries.
Pennsylvania Total Disability Benefits
A total disability is when you are injured severely enough to prevent you from working at all for any period of time. In the case of total disability, Pennsylvania requires that workers be paid a wage-loss benefit for any period of missed work longer than seven days. The first seven days of time off are not initially paid but they will be paid retroactively if you are unable to work for more than 14 days.
The amount of the wage-loss benefit has a minimum and maximum amount and is determined by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation based on a three-tier system that is updated each year. In 2019 the maximum wage benefit is $1049 per week.
Exact benefits are determined by how much you were earning at the time of the accident or injury for which you are claiming workers’ compensation. For people earning between $786.76 and $1573.50, the benefit is 66.66% of their regular wage. For people earning between $582.78 and $786.75, the benefit is $524.50. For those earning $582.77 or less per week, the benefit is 90% of their normal wage.
You will receive these benefits until either you reach maximum medical improvement or 104 weeks (2 years) have passed. After 104 weeks, the insurance company can require you to undergo another medical examination to determine your current disability rating. If you receive an impairment rating of 50% or more you will continue to receive total disability benefits for life. Receiving a rating that high is, however, very rare.
Pennsylvania Partial Disability Benefits
You are eligible to receive partial disability benefits when you can return to work but are earning less than you would have before your injury or if you have been given a disability rating of less than 50%.
Partial disability benefits are determined as two-thirds of the difference between your earnings before your injury and what you are able to earn afterwards. The same minimum and maximum amounts as total disability benefits apply.
You can receive partial disability benefits for 500 weeks (including any total disability payments you may have received) or until you return to your full earning potential, whichever comes first.
Pennsylvania Specific Loss Benefits
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act sets specific benefits for permanent loss or damage to specific body parts and functions. These are called specific loss benefits. These benefits are paid out by multiplying a worker’s weekly lost wage benefit by a set number of weeks.
For example, some of the specific loss benefits written into the Act include:
- 66.66% of wages paid for 335 weeks for the loss of a hand
- 66.66% of wages paid for 410 weeks for the loss of a leg
- 66.66% of wages paid for 100 weeks for the loss of a thumb
- 66.66% of wages paid for 50 weeks for the loss of the index finger
- 66.66% of wages paid for 275 weeks for the loss of an eye
This section of the act also goes on to outline specific compensation for things like partial loss of a limb, addition healing time required, and what exactly is considered to be full or partial loss of any part of the body.
Additional Workers’ Comp Benefits In Pennsylvania
You may also be entitled to some or all of the following benefits based on the circumstances of your accident and resulting condition.
- Medical benefits – payment for necessary medical treatment
- Travel reimbursement – for money spent traveling to and from doctors
- Vocational rehabilitation – if you need assistance finding a new job
- Death benefits – paid to the spouse and/or dependents of the worker
- Funeral expenses – up to $3,000 for funeral and burial expenses
If you have questions about filing a workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania or about any of the benefits you may be entitled to, contact us today. You reach us anytime online or call (877) 415-6495 to schedule a free consultation. We’ll be happy to go over the details of your claim and discuss exactly how we may be able to help you.