13 Jun, 2023

How Much Does Workers’ Comp Pay for Lost Wages in Bloomington?

Author Todd A. Strong

Workers’ compensation payments are sent to eligible employees every two weeks.  In some cases, workers may request lump sum payments instead of getting paid every two weeks.

It is also possible to negotiate the lump sum in some states. Also, you might be eligible to file a claim seeking additional benefits if you negotiated for a lump sum. This covers expenses that you did not factor in the initial agreement.

businessman in blue jacket taking paper from worker with broken arm. concept of lost wages
businessman in blue jacket taking paper from worker with broken arm. concept of lost wages

Understanding the Worker's Compensation General Rule

Generally, you will get paid two-thirds of your lost wages up to the weekly maximum set by your state. The two-thirds on the wages lost rule cuts across all states, but the benefits differ.

The difference lies in what every state has set as the maximum rate. Also, the payments for injuries and exclusions differ from state to state. So, if you earn $900 per week and suffer a work-related injury, you will get $600 according to the two-thirds rule, but the total amount depends on the state's maximum.

If you live in a state that provides a higher maximum, you will receive more benefits for lost wages. But, the reality is that the maximum rates for many states are quite low. The highest cap in the U.S. currently stands at $2,074 for New Hampshire, while the lowest cap is $551.02 for Mississippi.

Worker's compensation aims at helping injured workers stay afloat while unable to work. You may find the state limit on compensation benefits too low to cover your costs until recovery. A lawyer who understands Illinois workers’ comp laws and has successfully represented workers injured at work can help you file a claim that accurately represents your total recovery costs.

Are There Exemptions to the Worker's Compensation General Rule?

States have certain exemptions on how they pay workers' compensation. Although the two-thirds rule is quite common, not all states use it precisely as it is. Two-thirds translates to 66.67% of your weekly wages. New Hampshire, for instance, pays 60%, and Texas pays 70% of a worker's weekly wages.

Another exemption is the three-day waiting period before eligibility for benefits. In some states, you miss payments for the first three days of missing work, even if you become eligible later. Some states only pay for this period if the doctor affirms that you will miss work for 14 days.

Which Workers Are Excluded from Worker's Compensation Benefits?

Some workers are completely excluded from workers' compensation coverage. The list of exempted workers differs from one state to another. You can check with the Illinois Worker's Compensation Commission to know who is exempt. Typically, contractors and non-employee workers are exempt from receiving benefits.

Some states, however, cover ineligible workers unless they are entitled to benefits under the federal workers’ compensation program. Others have many exemptions, more so for casual laborers and agricultural workers. In Bloomington, Illinois, for instance, agricultural workers are eligible for compensation only if they worked for over 400 working days per quarter of the past calendar year.

When Are Workers Eligible for Workers' Compensation Benefits?

How do you know that you are eligible for worker's compensation? You must sustain a work-related injury to become eligible for worker's compensation benefits. The system used to compensate injured workers does not consider fault, meaning you can claim benefits even if you are at fault.

Illinois Workers' Compensation Wage Payments

You can apply for worker's compensation if you work in Illinois and sustain a work-related injury. Once you file a claim, you will receive weekly payments that you can use to settle your medical bills and sustain your lifestyle throughout the period you will be unable to work.

However, worker's compensation in Illinois follows a set of rules. For instance, if your injury is not work-related, you automatically are ineligible for these benefits. Also, the worker's compensation you are entitled to in Illinois is determined through an average weekly wage.

Ensuring that your employer provides all the benefits you are entitled to after sustaining a work-related injury is vital. The best way to do this is by working with a seasoned worker's compensation lawyer who will, among other things, help you draft a workers' compensation settlement agreement.

How the Average Weekly Wage Is Calculated in Bloomington

If you get a workplace injury, your benefits will be a percentage of your average weekly wage. This average is based on your earnings history for the past 52 weeks before the date you got the injury.

To determine your average weekly wage, start by calculating your total earnings for the past 52 weeks or four quarters. Ensure that the figures used to calculate your yearly earnings match with those reported to the internal revenue service.

You can divide the total amount by the 52 weeks of the year to get your average weekly wage. But then, various factors will affect the actual average weekly wage when using this method. The result will only be accurate if you worked full-time (5 days or more per week) for 52 weeks.

If you do not meet this requirement, you must deduct the number of weeks you failed to work full-time. Then, you will divide the total wages with the remaining weeks. If you sustain a workplace injury before finishing your first year, you will calculate this using the number of weeks worked.

How to Determine Average Weekly Wage in Special Cases

You might wonder what your average weekly wage is if you work part-time, two or more jobs, or overtime. Every worker is entitled to worker's compensation regardless of their terms of work. The following are methods of calculating worker’s compensation amount based on terms of work:

Part-Time

It is tricky to calculate the average weekly wage for someone working part-time. As such, the workers’ comp insurer will rely on the average weekly wage calculations for another full-time employee in your position and company. This method will also apply if you are working in a seasonal job.

Two or More Jobs

You should receive compensation for all of your lost wages if you sustain work-related injuries. But then, you must prove your wages from each employer before receiving the benefits. A mistake in the calculations might become costly. You can work with an adjuster and lawyer to ensure you get this right.

Overtime

You will not get benefits on the hours worked overtime in Illinois. The worker's compensation law in Illinois counts overtime as compensation or a benefit in itself. As such, your employer does not need to compensate you again for benefits earned above what you should take home as your weekly wages.

The Illinois Worker's Compensation Laws

Worker's compensation laws in Bloomington might change occasionally. Knowing what the law says about compensation when you get injured is vital. 

Employers are required under state laws to provide workers' compensation benefits to injured employees. These benefits must cover a workers' lost wages, medical expenses, and other losses. If an employee is covered under workers' compensation, he or she can not recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. When an employer fails to provide workers' compensation insurance, he or she can be held liable through a personal injury lawsuit.

A change of state’s minimum and maximum rates, inflation, or anything else after you have sustained a workplace injury will have no effect on your final payout. Also, worker's compensation benefits received in Illinois are not taxable.

What Wage Loss Benefits Do Workers Receive in Bloomington?

There are two major types of benefits that workers can receive in Bloomington. They are classified into temporary and partial disability benefits, depending on the nature and extent of the personal injury a worker sustains. 

Temporary Disability Benefits

You are eligible for temporary partial benefits if an injury prevents you from performing specific duties. Thus, you will be doing light work and earning less than you would have without the injury. You can also receive temporary total benefits if the injury keeps you away from work for some time, but not permanently.

To determine your temporary disability benefits, start by finding the difference between the AWW before the injury and the gross earnings after the injury. Two-thirds (66%) of the difference is what you will receive as benefits.

Permanent Disability Benefits

You can receive permanent partial benefits after losing a specific body part or reducing your work capacity in a workplace accident. You may be entitled to any of these four types of benefits:

  1. Two-thirds (or 66%) of the difference between your earnings before the injury and your current earnings. This benefit applies if you had to switch to a job paying less than your previous job due to your workplace injury or illness.
  2. Schedule awards depending on the specific body part lost in a workplace accident. This benefit is usually 60% of an injured worker’s average weekly wage multiplied by the number of weeks set by Illinois for that specific body part.
  3. If your injury or impairment is not scheduled, your benefits will be 60% of the average weekly wage before the accident. However, the amount will be multiplied by a maximum of 500 weeks.
  4. Permanent disfigurements that will make you eligible for 162 weeks of benefits. You arrive at this benefit by multiplying 60% of your average weekly wage by 162 weeks.

You can also get permanent total disability benefits, which means you will never return to work again. You will get 66% of your average weekly wages up to your state's limit, paid for a lifetime.

How to Receive Compensation for Lost Wages

Workers' compensation payments are sent to eligible employees every two weeks.  In some cases, workers may request lump sum payments instead of getting paid every two weeks.

It is also possible to negotiate the lump sum in some states. Also, you might be eligible to file a claim seeking additional benefits if you negotiated for a lump sum. This covers expenses that you did not factor in the initial agreement.

You may have to work with a lawyer if you are looking to claim any additional benefits. The lawyer will guide you throughout the process and tell you what not to say to a workers' comp claims adjuster. That will help you get additional compensation required to complete the recovery process.

Seeking Additional Compensation

There are various reasons for seeking additional compensation after a workplace injury. Workers' compensation covers medical, disability, rehabilitation, and funeral costs. However, traumatic injuries can bring pain and suffering, which workers' compensation does not cover.

Sometimes the aforementioned costs exceed your state's maximum benefits. Thus, the relevant workers’ comp insurer will pay up to the maximum the law requires. You can, however, bring a claim against any third party that might have contributed to your work-related injury to maximize your compensation.

A Bloomington worker's compensation lawyer for your lawsuit can thoroughly examine the details of your case and all available evidence to determine a compensation that can cover the full scope of your losses. Your lawyer will then negotiate with your employer and relevant workers’ compensation carrier. The lawyer will move to court if the negotiation does not yield desirable results.

Working with a lawyer will ensure your worker's compensation hearing or third-party injury claim yields the best results. Also, lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. You will pay your attorney using the amount received as compensation. In other words, you will not pay any legal fees if you lose the case.

About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.