Lost Wages and Worker’s Compensation Due to an Accident

31 Aug Lost Wages and Worker’s Compensation Due to an Accident

When You Have an Accident at Work

When you have an accident at work and are injured, the first thing you think about is how to stop the pain and how to get medical help fast. Hopefully, one of your fellow workers, or the manager, has already called the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) to provide initial help and get you to the hospital.

If, by chance, you are working in a remote area by yourself, arrange to check in by walkie-talkie, on the hour, every hour you are out there. Preferably, never work alone. There should always be a partner with you just in case you do have an accident and become unconscious. But you should still check in every hour, regardless. Getting medical help as soon as possible is essential to making a better recovery from any injuries.

When Working is No Longer an Option

Your injury could be so severe (loss of hand, foot, leg, etc.) that you realize you cannot go back to your previous job ever again. If you have a loss of mobility, chances are you will look at working some type of desk job, unless you are bedridden and/or cannot use your hands to type on a keyboard.

At this point, you will no longer draw your previous salary, although you will receive Arizona’s workers’ compensation benefits for two-thirds of your salary, plus paid medical bills. If you have a loss of a body part, you will also receive a compensation award to go with the benefits. That award is usually paid out in installments unless it becomes part of a settlement.

Always check with the best workers’ compensation lawyer (certified) before ever accepting any kind of settlement offer from the employer’s insurance company. Your certified attorney can work to get you the best deal that, by yourself, you could not get, unless you know how to get around the insurance infrastructure.

Assuming you are not going for a settlement just yet, here is how the workers’ compensation insurance system works and how you will get paid. First, you know you will get two-thirds of your salary every month and your medical bills will be paid. The highest amount of workers’ compensation benefits that can be made each month in 2022 is $5,161.12. If you made more than that, then you only get that $5,161.12, even if you made $10,000 per month.

When you filed your claim, you likely were told to meet with the insurer’s doctor for an injury evaluation. The insurer’s doctor review all your injuries and uses the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Sixth Edition (or the 5th edition which was officially approved by Arizona) to calculate the amount you will be paid for a loss of body part or usage of a body part. Here is one example provided by our head attorney, Weston S. Montrose, Esq. to show the award part of the calculation process, as stated on a recent post regarding the whole body impairment rating chart.

“If the worker’s average monthly wage was $4,250 and the doctor has declared a permanent impairment rate of 8% of the foot and medical restrictions didn’t prevent the worker from returning to their date of injury job then the award would be calculated as follows:

  • $4,250 x .5 = $2,125.00 monthly benefit (This is 50 percent of the salary)
  • 40-month maximum for a foot x 8% = 3.2 months
  • 2 months x $2,125 = $6,800 total permanent impairment award”

“If the worker couldn’t return to the date of injury employment because of the injury, then the award would be calculated as follows:

  • $4,250 x .75 = $3,187.50 monthly benefit
  • 40-month maximum for a foot x 8% = 3.2 months
  • 2 months x $2,125 = $10,200 total permanent impairment award”

If you have more than one injury as part of your claim, then the award will be higher. “While these calculations and payment terms may seem confusing, you can always get help by calling an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your specific situation and your injury.”

Getting a Settlement

When you decide to go for a settlement and you are using a workers’ compensation attorney to file for it, the above numbers become part of how a settlement fee will be calculated. It also helps if you get a statement from the doctor treating you, saying that you are incapacitated and giving a percentage of that, especially at 100 percent.

Your attorney can guide you with all the steps to take to ensure your case is rock solid and passes all legal loopholes that could be laying in wait to discourage you. Your attorney can evaluate whether going for a settlement is a good idea, or if it is better to just stay on monthly payments. Everything depends on your own personal circumstances and what would benefit you and your family best.

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