This is our fourth post in a series dealing with the calculation of workers’ compensation benefits. Last time, we began speaking about the various types of permanent partial disability benefits available to injured workers. We’ve already mentioned compensation utilizing an employee’s wage differential and the schedule of injuries under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
One point we did not mention last time is that, if a body part is amputated or results in total loss of function, the injured employee will be awarded the entire number of available weeks worth of compensation. For injuries involving permanent partial loss of function, compensation is calculated by multiplying the percentage of loss by the appropriate number of weeks.
Another form of compensation for permanent partial disability is used in cases involving permanent loss of function for the person’s body as a whole. In these cases, an employee may be able to receive a percentage of 500 weeks worth of benefits based on the relative loss of function to the person’s entire body.
Disfigurement is another possible category of compensation for permanent partial disability. First of all, employees are not allowed to collect compensation for both loss of function and disfigurement, so employees who have suffered both disfigurement and permanent disability may have to make compensation choices. In cases where there is scarring to the head, neck, face, chest above the armpits, hand, arm, or leg below the knee, the scar must be allowed to heal for at least six months before a disfigurement assessment may be done.
Employees who suffer disfigurement are entitled to a maximum of 162 weeks of benefits at the same rate allowed for permanent partial disability, multiplied by 60 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage.
Next time, we’ll wrap up this discussion and look at the importance of working with an experienced advocate when seeking workers’ compensation benefits.