How Workers' Compensation Benefits Are Calculated

The Previant Law Firm

How much you can expect to receive from workers’ compensation

Workers’ compensation is not a pain and suffering system. It is a formula system with capped payments. Once a doctor’s opinion is known regarding time off from work and any permanency, the compensation due can be easily calculated.

There are three major areas of compensation: Temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and permanent partial disability.

Temporary total disability is paid while a worker is healing from an injury and not working at all. The worker is paid two-thirds of his gross wage up to a maximum of $854 per week for a 2012 injury.

Temporary partial disability is paid while a worker is healing and able to do light duty work but at less than full wage or full hours. In this situation, a worker receives a percentage of his wages and a percentage of the comp benefit. For example, if a worker is receiving 70% of his wage, he should receive 30% of the comp benefit. If he is receiving 50% of his wage, he should receive 50% of the comp benefit. If he is receiving 80% of his wage, he should receive 20% of the comp benefit. As one can see, the percentages in each example add up to 100%. Workers receiving temporary partial disability should always keep their pay stubs and turn them into the workers’ compensation carrier so that the proper amount of the comp benefit can be determined.

The final type of payment is permanent partial disability. It is paid after the healing has ended, and the temporary total disability payments have stopped. In 2012, the maximum rate is $312 per week as of 4/17/12. The number of weeks a worker will be paid depends on the part of the body injured and percentage of disability given by the doctor. Once these figures are known, they are inserted into a formula and multiplied by the weekly dollar amount for the year that one is injured. This formula determines the amount of money a worker will be paid for permanent partial disability.