If you’ve been injured in an accident and are unable to work because of your injury, you may be wondering how you’re going to make ends meet while you recover. Many of us work in jobs that our absence means we don’t get paid, so how do the bills get paid if we are injured at work and are waiting for workers’ compensation to pay us for medical bills, lost wages, and so forth? Another common problem with these claims is that workers’ compensation recipients are often underpaid for lost wages and benefits following a workplace injury. Your best course of action if this happened to you is to contact a workers’ comp lawyer in your area and schedule a consultation. You may already have an attorney handling your case, but if you don’t, and you feel you’re owed money, the time is now to hire an attorney.
As you probably already know, workers’ compensation is a complex system that requires lots of paperwork, doctors’ appointments, and hearings to determine whether or not you will get paid for the expenses related to your workplace injury. One term you will hear a lot during the workers’ comp process is “indemnity benefits,” which are the benefits paid to an injured worker to replace part of the injured worker’s lost income.
The amount of the employee’s indemnity benefit is based on the employee’s prior pay history and the average weekly wage (AWW) earned by the employee. Most states use two-thirds (66.67%) of the gross AWW as the amount to pay in indemnity benefits, but some use 70% of the gross AWW. Some states use 75% or 80% of the employee’s net wages after taxes to calculate indemnity benefits. Your lawyer will be able to explain the numbers in your state.
All states vary in the requirements regarding payment of indemnity benefits. Some states require the payment of weekly indemnity benefits while other states require payment every two weeks. Some states require the first indemnity check to be issued on the 15th day after the injury (if the claim is not being disputed) and subsequent checks to be issued on the same day of each of the following weeks as long as the employee is unable to work. Some states allow the insurer to determine what day the initial indemnity benefit check will be issued, with subsequent checks following weekly or every other week as long as the employee is unable to work.
TTD and TPD
According to the Workers Comp Resource Center, indemnity benefits vary in name among the states, but, for the most part, they can be separated into two basic types — temporary benefits and permanent benefits.
Temporary benefits are divided into two subcategories whose names will vary in each state, but in most states they are as follows: Temporary total disability (TTD) and temporary partial disability (TPD). Temporary total disability (TTD) is paid to the injured employee when he is not able to return to any type of work while recovering. In cases in which the worker has partially recovered from an injury, but not fully recovered, the worker’s doctor may allow the employee to return to work on a part-time basis. When this happens, the employee is paid regular wages for the hours worked, and temporary partial disability (TPD) is paid to the injured worker to cover the hours each day the employee is not able to work.
PPD and PTD
Permanent benefits can also be divided into two types and in most states are referred to as “permanent total disability” (PTD) and “permanent partial disability” (PPD). When an injured worker reaches what’s known as “maximum medical improvement,” a doctor will evaluate his ability to return to work. If the doctors hired by all entities involved agree that the employee isn’t able return to work, the employee is considered to have PTD. He will be paid PTD benefits per the limitations according to the workers’ compensation law in that state. If the medical providers agree the employee has recovered enough to return to some type of employment but will always be partially disabled, the employee is classified as PPD and is paid PPD benefits per state guidelines.
Workers’ compensation law is complex, and you will need the assistance of an experienced workers’ comp lawyer if you want to collect benefits in a timely fashion following a work-related injury.