What You Need To Know About Wisconsin Workers’ Comp

workers comp

Work-related accidents remain far too common in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin. Thousands of Wisconsin workers every year need medical help for a job-related injury or illness. While Wisconsin law allows injured workers to obtain compensation, getting the maximum workers’ compensation benefits can be challenging. Learn about Wisconsin workers’ compensation below, and for more information, talk to our Milwaukee workers’ comp lawyers for a consultation.

Recent Updates To Wisconsin Workers’ Comp Laws

In April 2022, Wisconsin Governor Evers signed Wisconsin Act 232 into law. This update to the state’s workers’ compensation laws made several changes, including compensation for injured employees and part-time worker wage expansion. Below are details about the changes:

PPD Benefits Increased

The Act increases the maximum weekly Permanent Partial Disability benefit rate. It was increased from $362 per week to $415 for job-related injuries on or After April 10, 2022. The law also increased PPD benefits to $430 per week for injuries on or after Jan. 1, 2023.

Changes In Part-Time Worker Wages

In the past, if a part-time worker did not limit their hours to part-time or was not among regularly scheduled part-time workers, the worker’s wages would be expanded to full-time for the purposes of determining their workers’ comp benefits.

The law removes the ‘part of class’ portion and eliminates the expansion of wages for a worker who worked a part-time job for a year or more and does not have another part-time job when injured. Further, the average weekly wage (AWW) for this worker is determined as the greater of:

  • The worker’s rate per hour on the date of the injury, multiplied by the hours the worker was supposed to work that week, or
  • The worker’s actual gross earnings from the company in the year preceding his injury divided by the number of weeks worked.

This change means that the part-time worker’s AWW shall be expanded to 40 hours only if the worker has another job when he is injured or has worked there for less than a year before he is hurt. However, the worker’s employer can rebut this default wage expansion to a 40-hour workweek for AWW determination if it shows proof that the worker made a choice to limit his hours to part-time.

Wisconsin Workers’ Comp Laws Overview

If you are injured on the job in Wisconsin, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. The state offers most workers coverage for reasonable and necessary medical treatments, wage losses as you heal, permanent partial disability, and retraining and vocational rehabilitation.

Unlike some states, you can choose any doctor who is licensed in the state to treat you. Also, if you do not like your first doctor, you can choose another one. However, you do have a limit of two doctors.  Referrals, however, do not count as another choice.  If you plan to be treated by an out-of-state doctor, you need to get consent from your insurance provider.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

You can receive TTD benefits if you cannot perform any type of work as you recover from your injury, or you could go back to limited work but have not been offered work that meets those limitations. TTD benefits are calculated at 2/3 of the average weekly wage before you were hurt, up to a maximum that changes yearly. As of 2020, the maximum TTD benefit was $1,051. TTD benefits will continue until you return to work, or your physician states you are at the end of healing.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)

You could receive TPD benefits if you can return to work but cannot earn the same wage as before. The rate is 2/3 of the difference between what you earned before and after the injury. But your pre-injury wages can only be as high as the maximum for temporary total disability benefits. For instance, if you made $1,000 per week before the injury and can only make $700 after the injury, you would receive a TPD benefit of $200.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

After you reach the end of healing, your physician will examine you and determine if you have permanent work limitations because of your injury. In situations with a permanent disability, it is usually partial, so you would get a permanent impairment rating. This number represents the percentage of your lost body function.

PPD benefits are also determined as 2/3 of the average weekly wage. But the maximum is lower than for TTD. The maximum rate for 2023 is $430 per week.

Permanent Total Disability

You may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits if your job injury prevents you from doing any work. Certain severe injuries, such as losing both eyes or arms, are presumed to be entirely and permanently disabling. But other severe injuries could qualify, so talk to your workers’ comp attorney for additional information.

Permanent Disfigurement Compensation

If your workplace injury left you permanently disfigured to a body part that is visible at work and could lower your wages, the state could award you a permanent disability amount that it thinks is fair, after considering your education, training, age, experience, and occupation.

Death Benefits

If a loved one’s workplace injury resulted in death, the person’s dependents may be eligible for death benefits. The benefits are paid to the spouse only, except for children who may receive additional benefits. Death benefits may be up to four times the person’s yearly wages but may be subject to a maximum amount.

Who Must Have Workers’ Comp In Wisconsin?

Most employers in Wisconsin with three or more employees must have workers’ compensation insurance. However, some employees are exempt, including some farm and domestic workers. Federal employees also are exempt. 

Speak To Our Milwaukee Workers’ Comp Lawyers Now

If you were injured on the job in Milwaukee, you may have trouble paying your bills. However, your employer’s insurance company may dispute your claim or pay you less than you deserve. In many cases, an attorney can get you better compensation, so please talk to our Milwaukee workers’ comp lawyers today at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf at (414) 257-2667.

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