Workers' Compensation Lost Wages (Indemnity)
Aside from medical care, the other major workers' compensation benefit is lost wages, also known as indemnity. Whether you are able to work, with or without restrictions, is up to your treating doctor.There are several types of indemnity available:
Temporary Indemnity means lost wages available to you while you are still recovering from your injury. These are benefits paid while you are still healing and recovering from your injury. Temporary indemnity is payable for a maximum of 2 years (104 weeks).
There are two classifications of temporary indemnity:
- Temporary, total indemnity. This means that you cannot work at all and you will get the maximum compensation. In order to be eligible, there must be medical evidence that the injured worker is unable to work in any capacity due to his or her work injury. This class of benefits is not payable to an injured worker who is capable of obtaining and performing some type of work. For any week in which the injured worker has received unemployment benefits compensation, this benefit is also not payable.
- Temporary, partial disability. This means that your doctor has put you on "light duty" and that you can work with physical restrictions (for example, no lifting more than 10 pounds). This benefit is for a worker who is still recovering medically from injuries, has a physical limitation as a result of the injury and is unable to return to his/her former wage earning capacity.
Permanent Indemnity refers to lost wages available to an injured worker after he/she has reached maximum, medical improvement (for further medical improvement is reasonably anticipated).
There are two categories of permanent indemnity:
- Permanent partial disability benefits. These benefits begin when the injured has been determined by the treating medical provider to have sustained a permanent impairment. The amount of the benefits is based on a “sliding scale” of impairment ratings, which allows for additional weeks of benefits for higher ratings.
- Permanent Total Disability. If your injury is so severe that you cannot work again, you may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits. These benefits are payable over your entire lifetime. The law allows for a finding of permanent total disability for “listed impairments” which are very severe, including total blindness; brain injury, etc. An injured worker proving an inability to perform “sedentary” work (e.g. sit-down job) within a 50 mile radius is also eligible. The injured worker must prove that he/she is incapable of engaging in gainful employment and not able to uninterruptedly perform even sedentary occupations.
The rate of lost wage compensation you will receive is calculated according to the "average weekly wage", which is the average of your earnings for the 13 weeks before you were injured.
Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale Workers' Compensation attorney Randy Zeldin has litigated all of these complicated lost wage issues.
If you have been injured on the job, you may have a valid workers' compensation claim. Please contact Randy Zeldin for a free case review.