How is The Payment Determined in a Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Case

Wisconsin workers compensation

With bills to pay and no wages to cover your expenses, it is vital to file a workers’ comp claim quickly. As an injured worker, when it comes to workers’ benefits, your first likely priority is probably just trying to get an understanding of what your compensation will be.

Your benefits depend on the severity of your injury, your average weekly wages, and more. And, workers’ compensation can pay for vocational rehabilitation and other expenses in addition to wage replacement and medical expenses.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Depend on Your Average Weekly Wages

Average weekly wage is determined in one of two ways.  The first way is to take the hourly wage times the number of hours the person works a week.  For example:  if a person works 40 hours a week and earns $20 an hour, their average weekly wage would be 40 x 20 =$800.  The second way average weekly wage is determined is to take the employee’s actual earning for the year prior to the date of the injury and divide it by the number of weeks they worked.  Whichever of these two calculations is higher, is used as the average weekly wage.

Wage Replacement Duration and Amount are Based on Type of Disability

There are four types of disability in a Wisconsin workers’ compensation claim, and the length of time an employee can collect these disabilities, as well as the amount, are as follows:

  • Temporary Partial Disability—Employee is temporarily disabled, but only partially disabled, meaning they can perform some level of work.
    • Duration of wage replacement: Paid while the employee works at a lesser paying job or is working part-time, and paid until the worker’s condition becomes stable or until additional treatment is not likely to result in improvement.
    • Amount of wage replacement: Varies
  • Temporary Total Disability—Employee is totally disabled and cannot perform any work, but their condition is expected to be temporary.
    • Duration of wage replacement: Paid until the employee’s condition has become stable and additional treatment is not likely to result in additional improvement.
    • Amount of wage replacement: Two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages.
  • Permanent Partial Disability—Employee’s condition is not likely to improve, and they are injured partially, not totally, meaning they can perform some level of work.
    • Duration of wage replacement: Duration depends on the specific type or schedule of injury. For example, the loss of a hand at the wrist would be equivalent to 400 weeks of wage replacement, according to the Department of Workplace Development.
    • Amount of wage replacement: Determined by a schedule based on the year of the injury.
  • Permanent Total Disability—Employee is permanently and totally injured, meaning they are unable to perform any significant work.
    • Duration of wage replacement: Life
    • Amount of wage replacement: Two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages.

Maximum Average Weekly Wages For 2022

An employee’s average weekly wages may exceed the state limit. For example, if you earn an average of $2,000 a week, you will not be able to collect $1,333, or what would amount to two-thirds of your average weekly wages. Wisconsin, like all states, cuts off compensation at a certain amount. Maximum average weekly wages increase each year. These are the 2022 maximums for average weekly wages:

  • Temporary Total and Permanent Total Disability Weekly Wage—$1,159
  • Permanent Partial Disability Weekly Wage—$362
  • Max Annual Wage—$86,925
  • Total Death Benefit—$347,700

Medical Expenses

In addition to wage replacement, an employee who is injured on the job can expect to receive full medical coverage for their injuries. This often amounts to more, in terms of finances, than their average weekly wages, especially if they were uninsured or minimally insured with health insurance.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation may be available to you if you were permanently injured and are no longer competitive in your former line of work. In addition to medical care and wage replacement, you can also receive job training or educational funds so that you are able to work in a new field or line of work.

Vocational rehabilitation can be used for returning to work in the same position at the same employer, returning to work at a new position at the same employer, or seeking employment in a new position with a new employer. Qualifying for vocational training can be difficult, particularly if you wish to pursue higher levels of job training or education.

Death Benefits to a Surviving Spouse or Other Parties

If the injury or illness resulted in death, the decedent’s spouse can receive workers’ compensation death benefits. Other parties, including children of the decedent, parents, or other relatives, may receive workers’ compensation benefits if they were totally supported by the decedent.

Parents of the decedent who are not fully supported can receive:

  • Up to $6,500 if they have “maintained friendly relations with the deceased.”
  • If the employee contributes $500 or more to the support of his or her parents in the year before his or her death, the parents can seek up to four times that amount in workers’ compensation.

Additionally, burial expenses must be paid by workers’ compensation in all cases of death, up to the maximum limit the law provides, which is $10,000 in 2022.

  • Extra Benefits to a Dependent Minor Child—If a dependent child under 18 was living with the deceased employee at the time of their parent’s death or injury, that child may receive additional benefits. And, if the child is mentally or physically incapacitated, benefits may be paid past the age of 18.

Call a Wisconsin Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today For Help

If you were hurt on the job or became sick due to toxic exposure or an occupational disease, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois. You must notify your employer within 30 days of becoming injured, or within 30 days of becoming aware of an injury or illness, to ensure that you are able to collect these important wage, medical and vocational benefits. To learn more, contact the Wisconsin workers’ comp lawyers at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf today to schedule a free consultation.