Does Workers’ Comp Pay for Lost Wages?

If you are injured while on the job, it can be a stressful and confusing situation. You may wonder how you will support your family if you are unable to work and must deal with mounting medical costs.

A common question that injured workers have is – does workers’ comp pay for lost wages?

This is an important consideration for those who are injured or who have developed an illness because of their job. The answer to this is that workers’ compensation will cover part of your lost wages, but it will not provide you with the full amount you would earn if you were working.

The wages you receive will be paid as disability income benefits. The amount you receive depends on your level of disability.

When it comes to worker’s compensation and lost wages, there are four levels of disability that determine the total amount of lost wages you receive. These levels are:

  • Permanent partial disability
  • Permanent disability
  • Temporary partial disability
  • Temporary total disability.

Permanent Partial Disability

If you suffer a permanent disability, but it’s not complete, then you may be able to recover permanent partial disability benefits. The weekly amount is going to be the same as it is for temporary total disability; however, there will be limits on the amount of time you can get these benefits. The total number of weeks you will be able to receive benefits depends on what part of your body is injured and how severe the injury is.

Permanent Disability

If you have a doctor that determines you are totally and permanently disabled, and this results in your being unable to go back to work, then you can often start receiving permanent disability payments for the rest of your life. The weekly payment amount will usually be the same as what you get for a temporary total disability. This means two-thirds of your average weekly wage that you were earning before you were involved in the accident.

Temporary Partial Disability

If you can work but not stay in the same job or work as many hours as you did in the past, you may earn less money. In this situation, temporary partial disability will pay up to two-thirds of the difference between what you earned before you were injured and what your current pay is.

An example would be if you earned $1,000 before your injury and now make $400. The difference in this is $600, which means you can receive an additional $400 from workers’ compensation benefits. There is a cap on the number of weeks that you can receive these benefits, so you should know what this is and determine how much you can get.

Temporary Total Disability

If you are unable to work for at least seven days because of a work-caused accident or illness, you can receive temporary total disability benefits that will begin on the eighth day of the disability. The benefits will pay you two-thirds of your total weekly wage, and there is a maximum cap for this. If the temporary total disability benefits last for a minimum of 21 days, then you can receive coverage for the initial seven days of your injury or illness.

It’s clear from the information here that workers’ compensation benefits can be complex and confusing. Some people use the services of workers’ comp attorneys to help them better understand the answer to questions like “Does workers’ comp cover lost wages?” While the answer is “yes,” there are stipulations to this coverage.

Contacting a workers’ compensation attorney is a smart step to take because, in some situations, injured workers find that while they may deserve to receive benefits, their employer and insurance provider will dispute the injuries and deny the benefits that are owed.

How Exactly Will Workers’ Compensation Cover Your Lost Wages?

Usually, workers’ compensation insurance companies will cover any lost wages by mailing you a paper check every week. The initial check should be mailed to you within 21 days of the first day you are off work because of a work-caused injury or illness. The insurance company may send a weekly check, or they may pay for all the weeks with a lump sum payment.

While it is not a requirement that insurers provide direct deposit for workers’ compensation payments, some will do this. You can request this or ask your attorney to do so on your behalf to see if it is an option.

It’s also worth noting that the workers’ compensation wage benefits you receive will not be taxed. This means that you get the full amount discussed above.

The Process of Securing Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Lost Wages

If you want the best chance possible of securing workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages, then you should take the following steps:

  • Seek medical treatment. If you have an emergency, you can go anywhere for treatment. However, for non-emergencies, you must see an approved workers’ compensation doctor from a list your employer gives you. Make sure you maintain copies of all your medical records, which can be beneficial if your claim for lost wage benefits is denied.
  • Report the incident and injury to your employer. Make sure that the employer files a report with their insurer. It’s best to report the incident in writing, so there is a paper trail.
  • Keep a journal of the impact the illness or injury has on your life. Writing down how you feel and what is going on with the injury or illness each day can be beneficial if you have to appeal because your benefits are denied.
  • Talk to an attorney. If your claim for benefits is denied, you should get in touch with a workers’ compensation attorney. They can help you with the appeals process and help ensure you have the most positive outcome possible for your situation.

Contact Our Legal Team for Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim for Lost Wages

Suffering an on-the-job illness or injury can be stressful. However, as a worker, you have rights, including the right to recover benefits for lost wages. We can help with your claim, and the first step is to get in touch with our injury attorneys who have experience with workers’ compensation and lost wages by calling (704) 377-3770. We are ready to help with your case.

Attorney Mark Sumwalt

Mark Sumwalt is a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina who has practiced law in Charlotte since 1981, primarily in the field of worker’s compensation. He has litigated hundreds of cases to decision all over the state and handled many significant appeals to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Supreme Court, particularly in the area of attendant care. [ Attorney Bio ]


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