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Are You Getting Full Disability Benefits?
Workers' compensation pays a portion of your loss of earnings if you are off the job because of a work-related accident, injury or illness. These wage loss benefits continue for as long as you are unable to work.
There are numerous reasons why you should hire an attorney — the sooner the better — to protect these benefits. Employers and their workers' comp insurers commonly:
- Try to get you to make statements or sign documents that limit your rights
- Make errors in calculating the level of benefits (almost never in your favor)
- Fail to recognize all of your injuries
- Challenge whether the injury is work-related
- Try to reduce your benefits
- Try to terminate benefits before you are healed
Martin LLC is the largest workers' compensation law firm in Pennsylvania that exclusively represents the injured worker. We are here to maximize your wage loss benefits and make sure you receive them for as long as needed.
Call us after your accident, before you say or sign anything that could hurt your case.
Temporary Total Disability
If you cannot work at all, you are entitled to temporary total disability (TTD) wage loss benefits. For most workers, disability pay is two-thirds of your Average Weekly Wages, up to a statutory maximum, which changes every year. Your maximum is dependent on the year in which you were injured. The maximum for 2010 is $845. (High earners get short-changed under this system.) Wage loss benefits are not taxed.
There is no specific expiration on TTD benefits. However, after 104 weeks (two years) of TTD wage loss benefits, the insurance company can require you to submit to an Impairment Rating Evaluation ("IRE") to assess your disability. If the exam finds that your whole body impairment is less than 50 percent, you are deemed "partially disabled" — your rate stays the same, but your benefits will be capped at a maximum of 500 weeks.
A determination that you are partially disabled means you have an ability to perform some jobs but have not fully recovered from your injury. The employer may send you an " Ability to Return to Work" form, which often means they are preparing a petition to reduce your benefits.
The employer may also offer a light duty job based on your partial disability. If it pays less than your previous job, workers' compensation pays two-thirds of the difference. You should not turn down a light duty offer if the job duties fall within your work restrictions. However, you can petition for a hearing to argue the IRE/partial disability finding or that the "light duty" in reality exceeds your capabilities after your injury. You will need a doctor to testify on your behalf.
Disputing Your Wage Loss Benefits
At any time, you can litigate your wage loss calculations. The insurance companies must follow the law in calculating what is owed to you for your wage loss. If they failed to do so, you may be able to collect back pay for your undervalued benefits.
Our skilled lawyers have 30 years of experience with wage loss claims and all facets of the workers' compensation system. Call 888-229-6467 or 215-268-7646 to arrange a free consultation at any of our offices around Philadelphia and southeast Pennsylvania.