How Long Can I Receive Workers’ Comp In Wisconsin?

workers compensation

For most people who are injured on the job, it is only natural to wonder how long you can receive workers’ compensation benefits. After all, you really don’t know immediately after you get hurt how long you will miss work.

Wisconsin workers’ compensation law mandates a three-day waiting period before benefits accrue unless you are out of work for seven days, but that really impacts benefits if you aren’t out of work long enough. Depending upon how severe your injury is, you might not really know how long you will be out of work. If your injury is severe enough, it could be years, or even for the rest of your life. So, how long can you collect workers’ compensation benefits?

How Long Your Benefits Last Depends Upon Your Injury

The answer to how long you can collect workers’ compensation benefits, realistically, is “it depends.” That makes sense when you think about it. Relatively minor injuries likely will result in a fairly short benefits period. If you sprain an ankle and are out of work for a short while, but return to work after two weeks at 100 percent, your benefits will end when you return to work.

More serious injuries can result in a longer payment schedule.  For serious injuries the injured worker would receive 2/3rds of their average weekly wage until their doctor says they are done healing from the injury.  There is no statutory limit to this amount of time.  They would then potentially receive additional benefits for permanent partial disability if their doctor thinks they have permanent impairment.

Under Wisconsin workers’ compensation benefits law, the amount of benefits for time off (temporary total disability) is based upon:

  • How much do you normally earn in weekly wages
  • How many weeks are you off of work

For Permanent Partial Disability, the amount of benefits is based upon:

  • How serious your injury or disability is, calculated as a percentage by your doctor which can be anywhere from 0 percent to 100 percent.
  • Which body part you injure. Each body part has a value in Wisconsin.
  • What year you got injured in. This sets the rate of your benefit.

Permanent Total Disability Entails Lifelong Benefits

The ultimate answer to how long you can receive workers’ compensation benefits, of course, is that you can receive them for life if your injury qualifies. You really don’t want your injury to qualify for lifetime benefits, though, because that means you have suffered an injury resulting in permanent total disability. That doesn’t mean you’re in a comatose state for life, although that certainly would count as a permanent total disability. In fact, you could well still be able to live on your own and take care of yourself.

The key element to permanent total disability is that you are not able to return to employment and doctors have determined that you will not ever be able to do so. The state maintains detailed guidelines to assist physicians in determining the extent of your permanent disability.

Medical expenses, of course, are separate from workers’ compensation payments for lost wages or for permanent disabilities. Your medical expenses are fully reimbursed under workers’ compensation for as long as you incur such expenses as a result of your workplace injury. Naturally, long-term medical expenses frequently become the subject of disputes with employers or the workers’ comp insurer, particularly for very long-term or expensive medical care.

If You Are Hurt At Work, You Should Talk To A Milwaukee Work Injury Attorney

If are injured at work, it is likely that you will be out of work for just a few days or weeks. Even if you are out of work for months, though, your benefit payments should continue throughout your recovery from your workplace injury. In cases of severe injuries that result in permanent total disability, your benefits will last the rest of your life. That’s in a perfect world, of course, and your employer or their workers’ compensation insurer may want to challenge your benefits, the amount of those benefits, or the duration.

The Milwaukee workers’ compensation attorneys at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf are there to defend your rights to proper compensation for your workplace injury, regardless of where you live in Wisconsin. Contact the Milwaukee workplace injury lawyers at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf today. We will do all we can to ensure you get the compensation to which you are entitled when you are injured at work. We will evaluate your case for free without any obligation on your part. We work from our Milwaukee office, but Gillick attorneys represent injured employees throughout Wisconsin.