Understanding The Two Major Forms Of Workers' Compensation

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States use different ways to calculate workers' compensation for injured workers. Below are the two main methods of determining the compensation. 

1. Scheduled Losses

Many states have a workers' compensation chart that shows specific injuries and their corresponding compensation packages. The charts list the dollar amounts of the compensation packages. Thus, workers' compensation does not calculate your compensation if you suffer a scheduled loss. Rather, you automatically get the listed compensation amount.

Most scheduled losses deal with the loss of body parts, but others deal with the loss of use of organs or senses. For example, many states have scheduled losses for limb amputation, loss of hearing, and use of an arm. For example, you may get a scheduled loss compensation for a parlayed arm even if the doctors don't amputate the arm.

Some scheduled losses include partial compensation for partial losses. For example, you may get partial compensation for a scheduled loss if an injury means your hand can only do half of what it used to do before the accident.

2. Unscheduled Losses

Even in states with scheduled losses, the schedules cannot contain every injury or disease employees might suffer. Below are the main ways of handling such unscheduled losses.

Impairment-Based Compensation

In this case, workers' compensation compensates you for your injuries in proportion to the injuries' degree or extent. An injury that causes total impairment has a rating of 100. Thus, you are eligible for total compensation if you are wholly impaired. Your compensation reduces with the reduction of your impairment.

Consider a state that compensates workers with ten years of benefits for 100% impairment. If a doctor determines your impairment at 10%, you deserve one year (10% of ten years) of benefits as compensation. A doctor determines your impairment rating once you reach maximum medical improvement.

Wage Loss Compensation

The wage loss approach depends on how much the injury or disease has affected your income. You don't receive compensation if you can work and earn full wages. You receive total compensation if you cannot work and earn anything.

Some states consider your actual income (before the injury) in the calculations. Others consider your earning capacity. Whichever approach your state uses determines your compensation. Thus, you must ensure accurate calculations to enjoy high compensation.

Whichever determination your state uses, you deserve full compensation for your injuries. However, the workers' compensation adjuster might not agree with you about a good compensation package. Consult a workers' compensation lawyer to learn more.