Work Comp Wage Loss Claims In Pennsylvania
We all know that work injuries can be devastating to injured workers and their families. The loss of a worker’s wages due to a work injury can have almost as great an impact as the pain and suffering caused by the injury. Thankfully, injured workers in Pennsylvania can turn to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation system for help in restoring their lost wages. (Workers’ Compensation is sometimes referred to as workers comp, work comp, workman’s compensation, and workmans comp, and many people use the terms interchangeably.)
We also know that many laws are complex and require lawyers to decipher them. Pennsylvania workers comp law is no exception. When an employee suffers an injury in Pennsylvania, the Workers’ Compensation Act defines how the employer or its insurance company is supposed to pay the injured worker. This area of the law is every bit as complex as whether a heart attack or stroke suffered on the job is compensable under workers comp. Having the advice of a Pennsylvania workers’ comp lawyer is often essential to making sure that the claimant’s wage loss benefit is correctly calculated and secured.
In Pennsylvania, work comp wage loss benefits are called “indemnity” benefits. The amount of wage loss benefits an injured worker will receive in Pennsylvania after a work injury (called the “compensation rate” or “comp rate”) is generally calculated by multiplying the preinjury average weekly wage of the worker by two-thirds. However, there is a huge body of statutory and case law in Pennsylvania which shapes and defines how to calculate the claimant’s preinjury average weekly wage, and there are minimum and maximum amounts of indemnity benefits an injured worker can receive. For instance, a person who is injured at one job and who is prevented from working her second job because of the injury may be entitled to add the wages of the two jobs together when calculating her preinjury average weekly wage, thus increasing her compensation rate.
Moreover, in Pennsylvania an injured worker’s wage loss benefits may be limited by time. A claimant who is totally disabled in Pennsylvania may possibly be entitled to receive total disability benefits for the rest of his or her life, and the dependent of a person who is killed on the job may be entitled to receive workers comp fatal claim benefits for the rest of his or her life. Most people, thankfully, do not die or become totally disabled from their injuries. Injured workers who can go back to work with some work restrictions may not be entitled to total disability benefits, but they may be entitled to some portion of those benefits (called “partial disability” benefits), and partial disability benefits in Pennsylvania are limited in time to 500 weeks. Again, this is a complex area of the law, involving issues such as medical evidence, Impairment Rating Evaluations, and vocational evaluations; the correct calculation and duration of partial disability benefits under Pennsylvania work comp law is too far-reaching to be discussed adequately here.
Pennsylvania workers comp law is filled with traps for the unwary when it comes to calculating wage loss benefits. If you are injured on the job in Pennsylvania, even if your claim is being paid by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, you will be wise to consult with a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer. That lawyer may be able to identify both common and obscure errors in the worker comp carrier’s computation of your wage loss benefits, ultimately making sure that you receive the compensation you deserve under the law. The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers of Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. do not charge consultation fees, so there is no risk in picking up the phone or making an appointment to meet us to double check that your wage loss benefit is being paid correctly. Even if your injury is severe, and has a great impact on your life and the lives of those around you, at least you can have the peace of mind that you are receiving the wage loss benefit to which Pennsylvania work comp law entitles you.
The attorneys of Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. are no strangers to Pennsylvania workers’ compensation courtrooms. We are ready, willing, and able to go to battle for our clients, if necessary. Insurance companies will always be represented by experienced workers’ compensation attorneys. You deserve expert advice too. If the insurance company unfairly denies you your rights, we will fight the workers’ comp insurance carrier for your right to receive Workers’ Compensation. Please click here to contact us today.