Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Settlement Formula

Workers Compensation

The Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Act covers the expenses of employees who are injured or disabled while on the job. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to alleviate the necessity of a lawsuit by covering workplace accidents without the need to determine fault in exchange for the worker giving up their right to sue. 

Determining compensation for a workplace injury can be complicated, but the experienced Wisconsin workers’ compensation lawyers at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf in Milwaukee are here to help. Call the office today to schedule a free consultation of your case. 

Basic Workers’ Compensation Settlement Formula

At its core, there is a basic workers’ compensation settlement formula in Wisconsin to determine what an employee is owed after being hurt on the job. A settlement is calculated by adding the medical expenses, wage loss benefits, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation costs, and if necessary, death benefits to determine the total amount owed to an injured worker or their loved ones. However, each category of compensation has its own complexities that vary the amount for each individual case.

Medical Expenses

Workers’ compensation covers all reasonable and necessary medical expenses that are related to workplace accidents. In Wisconsin, injured workers have the right to choose their own healthcare provider, which is not the case in some other states. Medical expenses covered include ambulatory transportation, doctor’s visits, hospitalization, medication, medical treatment, surgery, and physical rehabilitation.

Certain types of medical treatments may or may not be covered under workers’ compensation, such as chiropractic visits and acupuncture, which is why you should always speak with a qualified attorney about your case before engaging in medical services for your injury. It is also important to note that travel to and from medical treatment is also covered, including public transportation costs or mileage in a personal vehicle.

Wage Loss Benefits

While a worker is recovering from their injuries, they are entitled to temporary total disability benefits under the workers’ compensation act. These wage loss benefits do not apply to the first three days off of work unless the employee is out of work for more than seven days. Temporary total disability benefits apply if a worker is unable to perform any work while recovering from a workplace accident or occupational illness as well as if the worker could return to restricted work but has not been offered this type of work by the employer that meets the restrictions. Temporary total disability benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum limit. In 2020, that limit was $1,051 per week, which was 110% of the statewide average weekly wage. These benefits continue until a medical professional has determined that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement, or the employee returns to work.

Workers’ compensation also provides wage benefits in the form of temporary partial disability payments. These benefits apply if the worker is able to return to work but can no longer earn the same amount as they could prior to the workplace injury. Temporary partial disability payments are calculated as two-thirds of the difference between a person’s pre-injury and post-injury wages, up to the same maximum as temporary total disability benefits.

Disability Benefits

Once maximum medical improvement is reached for a worker after their accident, a medical professional will determine whether there is any permanent disability. In cases where there is some permanent disability, an employee is entitled to permanent partial disability payments. This is expressed as a permanent impairment rating, which is the percentage of lost body function for the body part affected. 

The amount of permanent partial disability benefits are set based on the year of the injury.  The length of time that a worker is entitled to permanent partial disability payments is dictated by either a schedule if the body part affected is listed or based on a permanent impairment rating for lost body function.

If an employee is deemed unable to perform any type of work because of the injuries sustained in a workplace accident, they are entitled to permanent total disability benefits. Some injuries like the loss of both eyes or limbs are presumed to be permanently disabling, while others are determined by a medical professional. Permanent total disability benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage and continue for as long as the person is permanently disabled, which in many cases can mean for life.

Vocational Rehabilitation

If it is determined that it will be too difficult or impossible for an employee to return to their former job, workers’ compensation also covers the expenses involved in vocational rehabilitation. This includes up to eighty weeks of vocational training, career planning services, and assistance with job placement. During this time, an injured worker is entitled to also collect temporary total disability benefits to cover their wage loss.

Death Benefits

Sadly, some workplace accidents ultimately result in the death of an employee, and when this happens Wisconsin workers’ compensation includes death benefits for the worker’s family members. A surviving spouse is entitled to death benefits that are up to four times the worker’s annual wages up to a certain limit, which in 2020 was $4,554.33 per month, with a yearly limit of $315,300. 

Additional benefits are provided for any surviving children who are dependents under eighteen years old or are deemed incapacitated. If there is no surviving spouse, extended family members may also be entitled to death benefits if they were financially dependent on the deceased victim.

Wisconsin workers’ compensation also covers funeral and burial expenses for a worker who dies as a result of a workplace accident. An employer will cover up to $10,000 in costs for the funeral and burial of their employee. To learn more about what your workers’ compensation case might be worth, call or contact our office today.

Call or Contact Our Office Today

Are you interested in learning more about what your workers’ compensation claim might be worth in the Milwaukee area? Then call the Milwaukee workers’ compensation lawyers at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf today to schedule a free consultation of your case