How Much Should I Expect from a Workers’ Comp Settlement?
If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. If you are entitled to workers’ compensation, you may be able to obtain a workers’ comp settlement with the help of an experienced attorney. But how much can you expect from a workers’ comp settlement?
There is no simple way to answer this question. When you have a workers’ compensation claim, the value of your claim depends almost entirely on your individual circumstances. What is the nature of your injury? How severe is your injury? How much do you make? How long will you be out of work? These are just some of the questions that must be answered in order to determine how much you may be able to recover.
Determining the Value of Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Under Florida law, qualifying workers can receive two main types of workers’ compensation benefits. The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) defines these as: (i) medical benefits and (ii) lost wages and other monetary compensation.
1. Calculating Your Medical Benefits After a Job-Related Injury
If you qualify for workers’ compensation, you are entitled to coverage of the medical costs associated with your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Note, however, that your choice of doctors is limited. Florida law allows employers to designate a list of approved physicians – or even one specific doctor in some cases – whom their employees can see when they file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Generally speaking, you are entitled to receive full medical benefits until you fully recover or you reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI). Once you reach your MMI, you will be required to pay a copay. The costs your medical benefits cover should include:
- Doctor’s visits
- Medical tests
- Prosthetics and other medical devices
- Physical therapy
- Mileage reimbursement (for travel to and from medical appointments and the pharmacy)
When it comes to settling your workers’ compensation claim, it may or may not make sense to include your medical benefits as part of your settlement. If it isn’t clear how long your injury will last or what type of treatment you might need in the future, then you may want to settle the lost wages portion of your claim only.
On the other hand, if your doctor has prescribed a clear treatment plan and is relatively confident in his or her assessment of your long-term needs, then settling your medical benefits claim will allow you to avoid any concerns with regard to the insurance company terminating these benefits prematurely.
2. Calculating Your Lost Wages and Other Monetary Compensation
Calculating your lost wages and other monetary compensation can be a bit more complicated. These benefits (which are often simply referred to as disability benefits) fall into four different categories; you may be entitled to benefits in more than one category over the course of your recovery.
The types of disability benefits available to qualifying workers in Florida are:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) – If you are unable to work as a result of your injury, you may be entitled to TTD benefits. These benefits are calculated at 66 ⅔ percent of your weekly wage at the time of your injury in most cases. Certain severe injuries will qualify for benefits calculated at 80 percent of your weekly wage.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) – If your doctor clears you to work with restrictions after being out of work for a period of time, you may be able to collect TPD benefits. In order to collect TPD benefits, you must be earning less than 80 percent of your pre-injury wages.
- Impairment Income Benefits (IIB) – If you reach MMI and are never able to return to your old job, then you may qualify for IIB. Your doctor will assign you an “impairment rating,” and the amount of your benefits will be based on this rating.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) – PTD benefits are available to qualifying employees who are never able to work again. These benefits are calculated based on the unique circumstances of your individual case.
When it comes to settlement, the first step toward making an informed decision is understanding how much you are entitled to recover. While the DWC provides benefit calculators online, these calculators are not guaranteed to be accurate.
It is extremely important to work with an attorney who can accurately calculate your disability benefits based on your individual circumstances. Your attorney can negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf as well.
Ultimately, with an experienced attorney on your side, you can feel confident knowing that your workers’ comp settlement adequately reflects the benefits you deserve.
Speak with an Orlando Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have been hurt on the job, you may be entitled to a range of benefits for your injuries. However, payment or settlement of a workers’ compensation claim is not guaranteed.
Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter can help you with all aspects of applying for workers’ comp, appealing underpayment or denial of benefits, and settling your claim. We are dedicated to achieving the optimal result in your case.
Please contact Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter at (407) 712-7300 today for a free case review. Our workers’ compensation lawyers serve clients in Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and all of Florida.