One of the most common questions that our clients often ask us is: As an injured worker, how much money should I get from my employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier if I am not able to work?
Unfortunately, the amount that you should be entitled to, is frequently not what the insurance company is willing to pay you. They may employ a host of strategies, including miscalculating your indemnity wages, so they can avoid paying you the full coverage.
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To fight against all that, you will likely need a good workers’ compensation attorney to get you the benefits you deserve.
What are indemnity benefits?
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers are entitled to wage loss benefits, also known as indemnity benefits, based on the earnings at the time of injury. Generally, indemnity benefits are calculated based on 2/3 of your average weekly wage. However, there are many other factors that must be considered in this calculation.
Wage calculations can get rather complex in Pennsylvania. The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation attempts to ensure that the calculation of wages is an approximation of what an employee could have been expected to earn had he or she not been injured.
? How are my indemnity benefits calculated?
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry sets the workers’ compensation rate calculations for each year and your benefit rate is calculated based upon the year of your injury. This is done to ensure you receive a fair settlement that protects your dignity and livelihood.
Unfortunately, there are no cost-of-living increases, and therefore your compensation rate remains the same during the entire time that you are disabled and out of work.
If you were injured in 2023, the maximum weekly benefit that you can get is $1,273.00. If you made between $954.76 per week and $1909.50 per week, you could get 2/3 of your gross (before deductions) average weekly wage. However, if you made between $707.22 and $954.75, you would get $707.22 per week, and if you made less than $707.21 per week, you would get 90% of your gross average weekly wage.
The good news is that workers’ compensation benefits are generally not taxable!
? What if I had two jobs?
If you had two jobs at the time of your injury, your earnings from your other jobs should also be taken into consideration and you should be compensated for the money that you are losing from both jobs.
Can workers’ compensation benefits be miscalculated?
The workers’ compensation insurance company often miscalculates your correct average weekly wage and compensation rate. Therefore, you should retain a good workers’ compensation attorney in Pennsylvania to ensure that you are getting the full benefits to which you are entitled.
The insurance company may also have failed to include your overtime in calculating your average weekly wage or used the wrong formulas to calculate it and the compensation rate.
Crucial factors when calculating workers’ compensation benefits:
- The length of time that you worked for your employer is often crucial in calculating the correct average weekly wage.
- Gratuities should also be included in calculating the average weekly wage if reported by the employee for federal income tax purposes.
- Bonuses, incentives, and vacation pay are prorated over the year and added to the average weekly wage after the annual amount earned is divided by 52.
- Money advanced or reimbursed to an employee for board and lodging must also be considered in computing the average weekly wage.
These calculations can be complex and confusing.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys can help you!
We have litigated the issue of the correct average weekly wage and compensation rate for many of our clients to make sure that injured workers receive all benefits to which they are entitled.
If you have concerns about your benefits not being calculated fairly, reach out to us at (215) 206-9068 for a free consultation.