Lost Wage Replacement In A Workers’ Compensation Claim
This benefit is arguably the most important financial benefit in a workers’ compensation claim. Under Florida law, it’s based on the victim’s average weekly wage. The dictionary AWW definition is a bit misleading. It implies that this calculation only considers prior wages. That’s true in a few cases, but not very often.
For example, many jobs feature probationary wages or periodic, set wage increases. A job injury victim’s AWW must account for these future increases. The same thing applies to lost performance bonuses or overtime opportunities.
Additionally, many workers change jobs frequently. Assume Mike was an unlicensed security guard for a year. He got injured the week after he passed his certification exam and got a raise. So, his past AWW does not reflect his current lost wages.
Usually, the exact amount of wage replacement depends on the nature and extent of the victim’s disability. More on that below.
Like all other insurance companies, workers’ compensation insurance firms make money when they collect premiums and lose money when they pay claims. So, these lawyers often do whatever it takes to reduce claims. In this environment, job injury victims need a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer to level the playing field.
Permanent Total Disability
Catastrophic occupational diseases and trauma injuries are often permanently disabling. Occupational diseases include cancer and other issues caused by toxic exposure. Falls, generally falls from more than four stories above ground, are usually the most catastrophic trauma injuries.
However, “disability” is not simply a medical term. This word also has vocational, educational, economic, and other meanings. Limb amputation might be disabling for many blue collar workers. But it might not be disabling for many white collar workers. Attorneys often partner not only with doctors, but also with vocational analysts and other professionals in these situations.
If the victim cannot work again, workers’ compensation usually pays the equivalent of two-thirds of the AWW either for life or until the victim is no longer disabled. To return to the limb amputation example, an advanced prosthetic might become available which allows the victim to return to work.
Permanent Partial Disability
Hearing loss is the most prominent example of a permanent partial disability. Trauma injuries could be permanently partially disabling as well. For example, Alice might break her shoulder so badly that she has permanent loss of motion in the joint.
Once again, a lump-sum payment is usually available. This payment must reflect the permanent difference between the old and new wages. For example, due to her injured shoulder, Alice might have to permanently reduce her work hours.
Temporary Partial Disability
TPD wage replacement is a bit like PPD wage replacement. As they recover from less-serious trauma injuries and occupational diseases, many victims can go back to work. However, they must often reduce their hours to accommodate medical treatment appointments or accept lower-paying light duty assignments.
Workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the difference between the old and new AWW in these situations. Frequently, workers “graduate” to this category from the TTD category, which is discussed below.
Temporary Total Disability
Almost all trauma injury victims at least start in this category. These individuals cannot work due to a workplace injury. In these situations, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage.
Typically, job injury victims in Florida can choose their own doctors. Prompted by their bosses, company doctors often push victims back to work before they are fully ready. But a private physician usually faces no such pressures.
Rely On a Dedicated Hillsborough County Attorney
Job injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer, contact Kobal Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.