What You Should Know About Workers’ Comp And Lost Wage Replacement
Especially when inflation is high, a temporary loss of income is financially crippling for most families. Two-thirds of Americans have less than $1,000 in a savings account. This financial frailty means the workers’ compensation lost wage replacement benefit is critical in most situations. When workers in the early 1900s gave up their right to sue in court for work-related injuries if no-fault insurance benefits were readily available, they knew what they were doing.
That “readily available” bit has changed significantly over the past century. Today, the workers’ compensation bureaucracy, which is dominated by insurance company interests, sets up as many obstacles as possible. Additionally, to attract businesses, Florida lawmakers have repeatedly lowered workers’ compensation insurance premiums. So, there’s less money in the system to replace lost wages. Because of this environment, job injury victims need a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney more than ever.
Workers’ compensation lost wage replacement benefits usually hinge on the AWW. To calculate a victim’s Average Weekly Wage, many insurance adjusters simply look at employee hourly records from the last few months. In a few cases, determining the AWW is just about that simple.
But in most cases, the calculation is much more complicated. The AWW doesn’t just include regular cash compensation. It also includes irregular and non-cash compensation, such as:
- Housing allowance,
- Tuition reimbursement,
- Group health care plan subsidy,
- Performance bonuses, and
Additionally, the AWW isn’t just backward looking. It’s forward looking as well. Assume Alex gets hurt at work on the last day of his probationary period. The next day, had he been able to work, his wages would have shot up. Alex’s lost wage replacement benefit should reflect the wages he loses because of his injury, not the income he made in the past.
Moreover, Alex’s injury could cause him to miss overtime opportunities and performance bonuses. His AWW should account for these things as well.
The payment method usually depends on the extent of disability. The D-word is not just a medical term. Other factors, mostly educational, come into play as well. A serious knee injury probably isn’t disabling to a white-collar worker. But it is disabling for most blue-collar workers.
Most job injuries are temporarily disabling. These victims cannot work until they recover, or at least they cannot work full time. So, a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer can obtain two-thirds of the victim’s AWW for the duration of that temporary disability. If the victim can return to work part time or must accept a limited duty assignment, workers’ compensation pays two-thirds of the difference between the old and new incomes.
Permanently disabled victims usually receive annuities or lump-sum payments, largely based on the nature and extent of their disabilities as well as their AWWs.
Work With a Diligent Hillsborough County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. We routinely handle matters in Hillsborough County and nearby jurisdictions.