In Pennsylvania, an injured worker that is disabled is entitled to wage-loss benefits, as well as the payment of medical bills. Here is a quick summary of how an injured worker is compensated for lost wages after getting hurt on the job from the lawyers for workplace injuries at Pearson Koutcher Law.
If you are totally disabled, meaning that you are unable to work at all due to your injury, the amount of your wage-loss benefits is calculated based on your gross wages before the injury. If you worked at your job for more than one year before you injured yourself, then your employer must calculate your wages for each of the four quarters preceding your injury. In other words, if you sustained your injury on April 1, 2023, your employer must calculate your wages for January 1-March 30, 2023; October 1-December 31, 2022; July 1-September 30, 2022; and April 1-June 30, 2022. Any bonuses, commissions, or tips must be included in your wages. A formula is then utilized to calculate your “average weekly wage,” or in workers’ comp. lingo, “AWW.” This number fairly approximates how much you earned at your job on a weekly basis and dictates your workers’ compensation benefits rate.
The calculation of your workers’ comp. benefits would then be based on your earnings in any completed calendar quarters. If you were working for 10 months, the last three quarters are considered; if you were working for four months, your last quarter is considered.
The next step is plugging your average weekly wage into a chart, which will reveal your weekly workers’ comp. rate. Each year, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry creates a chart to determine how much an injured worker is entitled to in weekly benefits. For injuries sustained in 2023, payment is as follows:
Because workers’ comp. benefits are entirely non-taxable. No taxes will be deducted from your benefits, and you will not have to report the money on your tax return. So while the amount of your workers’ comp. benefits will not be as high as your wages, unless you are a very high wage earner, your “take home” should be at least as much as what you were bringing home after taxes.
Insurance companies sometimes underestimate a worker’s benefits rate, so if your check seems light to you, reach out to a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer at Pearson Koutcher Law, and we will ensure that you are paid the right amount of benefits.
If you are back to work, but your injury forced you to take a lower-paying job – either due to fewer hours or a lower wage — you are still entitled to wage-loss benefits, which are called partial disability benefits. The insurance company for your employer is required to pay you 2/3 of the difference between your average weekly wage and post-injury wages. For example, if your average weekly wage is $800 and you return to work making $500 per week, you will be entitled to partial disability benefits of $200 per week. ($800–$500 = $300 x 2/3 = $200)
You are entitled to wage-loss benefits under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law once you have been out of work for seven days, including days you are not scheduled to work. Once you have been disabled for 14 days, you are entitled to wage-loss benefits retroactively to the day of your injury. The workers’ compensation insurance company is required under the law to accept or deny your claim within 21 days of when you report your injury. If the insurance company denies your claim, accepts the medical part of your claim but not the wage-loss portion, or does not make a decision on whether to accept or deny your claim, you need the lawyers for workplace injuries at Pearson Koutcher Law to fight for your benefits.
The lawyers for workplace injuries at Pearson Koutcher Law have decades of experience handling workers’ compensation cases and can answer all your questions about wage-loss benefits as well as any other aspect of your claim. If you need help obtaining the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve, look no further than the lawyers for workplace injuries at Pearson Koutcher Law. Please call today for a free, comprehensive consultation.