How Wisconsin Work Injury Settlements Are Determined

workers' comp

The Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Act provides benefits to workers who are injured or disabled at work. Workers’ comp avoids needing a personal injury lawsuit by covering job-related injuries without the need to determine fault. 

Determining what you can receive in a workers’ comp settlement can be complex, but with the help of an experienced attorney, you can have a favorable case outcome.

In this blog post, learn about Wisconsin work injury settlements, and then our Wisconsin workers’ comp lawyers can answer your case-specific questions.

How To Determine Wisconsin Workers’ Comp Settlements

Wisconsin has a basic workers’ comp settlement formula to determine what a worker is owed after they are injured on the job. The settlement is determined by adding the worker’s medical expenses, income loss benefits, disability benefits, and work rehabilitation costs. Death benefits are included if necessary to decide what is owed to the injured employee or their loved ones. However, each compensation area has complexities that will vary depending on the case.

Medical Costs

Wisconsin workers’ compensation pays for all reasonable, necessary medical costs related to a job-related injury. Injured employees have the right to choose their own doctor in this state, but not every state allows this. Workers’ comp medical expenses cover doctor’s visits, hospitalization, ambulance transportation, medical treatments, surgery, medication, and physical therapy.

Workers’ comp may or may not cover some medical treatments, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care. This is why you should talk to an experienced workers’ comp attorney about your situation before getting medical treatment for your job-related injury. Also, transportation to and from your medical appointments is covered, such as public transportation expenses or mileage for your car.

Wage Losses

While you recover from your injuries, you have a claim to receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits under the law. Wage loss benefits do not apply for the first three days you miss from work unless you cannot work for more than seven days. TTD benefits apply if you cannot perform any job while you recover from a job-related injury or occupational illness. They also apply if you could return to limited duty, but your employer does not accommodate you.  

TTD benefits are 2/3 of your average weekly wages, up to a maximum of $1,051 per week in 2020. Your TTD benefits continue until a doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement or you return to work.

Wisconsin workers’ comp also offers wage benefits through temporary partial disability payments. These payments apply if you can go back to work but cannot earn the same wage as you could before the work-related injury. Temporary partial disability payments are 2/3 of your pre-injury and post-injury earnings. The same maximum weekly benefit applies as TTD benefits.


Once you reach maximum medical improvement or end of healing, your doctor will decide if you have a permanent disability. If you have a permanent disability, you will be entitled to permanent partial disability compensation. The amount you receive is determined through a permanent impairment rating, which is the amount of body function you lost for the affected body part.

What you receive for permanent disability benefits is determined based on the year of your job-related injury. How long you are entitled to permanent partial disability payments is determined by a schedule if your affected body part is listed or according to a permanent impairment rating for your lost body function.

If your doctor decides you cannot perform any work because of your work-related injuries, you may receive permanent total disability benefits. Some job-related injuries such as the loss of both eyes or limbs, are assumed to be a permanent disability. Others will need to be evaluated by your doctor and a vocational expert. Permanent total disability benefits are determined as 2/3 of your average weekly earnings. They continue for the rest of the injured worker’s life.

Vocational Rehabilitation

If your doctor decides it will be difficult for you to return to your job, workers’ comp also may cover job rehabilitation. This can include 80 weeks of job training, career planning, and help getting a job. During this period, injured employees are entitled to temporary total disability payments to cover their loss of earnings.

Death Benefits

Unfortunately, some job-related accidents can cause the employee’s death. In this case, the state workers’ comp program offers death benefits to the deceased’s loved ones. A surviving spouse can receive death benefits up to four times the employee’s annual earnings, up to a certain maximum. In 2020, the maximum was $4,554 per month, and the annual limit was $315,300.

More death benefits may be provided to surviving children under 18 or incapacitated children. If the worker did not have a surviving spouse, other family members could receive the death benefits if they benefited financially from the deceased.

Workers’ comp also pays for burial and funeral costs if an employee dies because of a job-related injury. The employer must cover up to $10,000 in funeral and burial costs.

Average Workers’ Compensation Settlements

The National Safety Council (NSC) compiles nationwide average workers’ compensation settlements. In 2019 and 2020, the average cost for all workers’ comp claims nationally was $41,353. The data shows that the costliest lost-time workers’ comp claims caused by injuries were from car accidents, averaging $85,300 per workers’ comp claim filed. Other work-related injuries with above-average settlements were:

  • Burns: $54,173
  • Falls and slips: $48,575
  • Caught between accidents: $44,588

Also, the NSC reported that the costliest workers’ comp claims by cause of injury were for amputations, averaging $118,800 per claim filed in 2019 and 2020. Next were settlements for injuries because of dislocation, crush, or facture – $60,934. The costliest for workers’ comp claims by part of the body were those involving the head and central nervous system – $93,942.  Keep in mind though, each claim is unique and has its own value so you cannot compare the value of your claim to another person’s claim.

Contact Our Wisconsin Workers’ Comp Lawyers Now

Were you injured on the job in Milwaukee or another community in Wisconsin? You could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages. Contact our Wisconsin workers’ comp lawyers at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf. We may be able to help with your claim, so please call (414) 257-2667 for a consultation.


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