Workers Comp Settlement Chart

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6 Reasons to Hire a Workers' Comp Lawyer?

Claim Denied

If your claim was denied, you may need a lawyer to help build your case.

Too Hurt To Work

You should consult an attorney if your work related injuries prevent you from working.

Retaliation

Talk to a lawyer if your boss is retaliating against you because of your workers' comp claim.

Preexisting Condition

Getting full compensation when you have a preexisting condition is hard.

Low Offer

Getting full compensation when you have a preexisting condition is hard.

Slow Response

If the company is dragging their feet and your medical bills pile up, consult a lawyer.

Workers' Comp Settlement Chart

StateArmLegHandThumbIndex FingerMiddle FingerRing FingerPinkyFootBig ToeEyeEarTesticle
Alabama4884044000374001364094606820484035203058070402728011660NOT AVAILABLE
Alaska106200708009558040710194701947088508850442508850NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Arizona14314811929011929035787214721670111929954395432167017157447716NOT AVAILABLE
Arkansas11516886848863763445620296174641132889686183215104495601982425016
California1906039258315348342050146451464560906090481406090NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Colorado162869162869162869138527203498730473601814367203NOT AVAILABLE9696NOT AVAILABLE
Connecticut2061281536051664886243335676287392081116847123875277481555873468534685
Delaware16639316639314642549918332792662319967133111064912662313311449918NOT AVAILABLE
District of Columbia34230531597326770083382511993364527794175542252774242217554157051NOT AVAILABLE
Federal58864754336746035214150286788566014716728300386771716943018709810898108
Florida1862931105131635594231114525145256315631565045631549889NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Georgia11812511812584000315002100018375157501312570875157507875039375NOT AVAILABLE
Hawaii24523222636819178458950361562358019650117901611302986812576040872NOT AVAILABLE
Idaho1136857579010231741685265272084294745684530531591666316NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Illinois43985840309027916710349658557517483876829959227419517482355903971073537
Indiana2020501734301448103720824272212381820412136116190372081161902375530340
Iowa36175031834027493086820506454341036175289402170505788020258072350NOT AVAILABLE
Kansas75000750007500039204241761960213068980175000196027128017820NOT AVAILABLE
Kentucky4022774022774022771956708137581375240422404221268324042NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Louisiana126000110250945003150018900126001260012600787501260063000NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Maine199692159605159605482532820924498163321187812026124498120261NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Maryland301600301600251802335006720588050404200251802672025180241875NOT AVAILABLE
Massachusetts52245473854131016524103278262413120653523563424738535235NOT AVAILABLE
Michigan220580176300176300533003116027060180401312013284027060132840NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Minnesota114000480008910020900935093503750375026000640022800NOT AVAILABLE3750
Mississippi927188112869539278151622613908927269545794913908463591854423180
Missouri11510010269786821297672232517364173641091574418198456945724310NOT AVAILABLE
Montana1203609204011186467968509765097642480424807080042480NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Nebraska1712251636151331754566026635228301522011415114150228309512538050NOT AVAILABLE
Nevada8596344574187389671360116800668006309123091221608830912NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
New Hampshire294840196560265356106704659885335226676126361375922527211793642120NOT AVAILABLE
New Jersey268983256757163391222301482011856889259281363441185610260013680NOT AVAILABLE
New Mexico15283615283695523420302139716812129911069987881267469934330567NOT AVAILABLE
New York25229923289119731160649371982426020216121301657733072912938448519NOT AVAILABLE
North Carolina22088018400018400069000414003680023000184001324803220011040064400NOT AVAILABLE
North Dakota14880074880108800208001280096006400512048000960048000NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Ohio19395017240015085051720301702586017240129301293002586010775021550NOT AVAILABLE
Oklahoma888258882571060213181259710659710654917106010659888253553017119
Oregon2340801994911994911143489572393063824207975918618790402156920124991NOT AVAILABLE
Pennsylvania38991038991031858595100475503804028530266282377503804026152557060NOT AVAILABLE
Rhode Island5616056160439201350082805400450036003690068402880013500NOT AVAILABLE
South Carolina1685311493801417194979330642268121915115321107247268121072476128457454
South Dakota1410001128001057503525024675211501410010575881252115010575035250NOT AVAILABLE
Tennessee3090962060642781861184875666856668257582575812879025758NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Texas10836072240975243973219866198669030903045150903043344NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Utah98549658758853635309221341791889594216463761370263240NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Vermont2908711939142617841115015332653326242392423912119624239NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
Virginia1934001692251450505802033845290101934014505120875290109670048350NOT AVAILABLE
Washington118266118266106440425762661021288106445322827872483647306157699856
West Virginia127661127661106384425542127714894106381063874469212777021347873NOT AVAILABLE
Wisconsin201250161000161000644002415018113104651127080500268338855017710NOT AVAILABLE
Wyoming90581603878152334723166061660675487548377427548NOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLENOT AVAILABLE
NOT AVAILABLE

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Frequently Asked Workers' Comp Questions

Read what other people ask

Usually, workers’ comp lasts until job injury victims reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).  Basically, MMI means further medical treatment won’t improve the victim’s condition. If Adam breaks his shoulder at work, he may permanently lose some range of motion in that joint, no matter how much treatment he receives. He may also be at risk for frozen shoulder and other more serious maladies, once again no matter how much treatment he received.

However, many states limit workers’ compensation benefits to under two years. When that period expires, many victims haven’t reached MMI and they don’t qualify for permanent disability payments. That’s a pretty bad place. Workers’ compensation length also depends on whether victims can choose their own doctors. Company doctors often quickly apply the MMI tag and cut off workers’ compensation benefits.

Types of Workplace Injuries

So far, we’ve focused on workplace trauma injuries, like falls. Most workers’ compensation claims are based on such injuries. Falls are also common at construction sites. Year after year, construction is at or near the top of those “most dangerous jobs” lists. Other trauma injuries, especially at construction sites, include caught between, electrocution, and struck-by injuries.

Incidentally, offshore workers, like fishers and energy exploration workers, are usually at or near the tops of those lists as well. Generally, these trauma injury victims have almost no immediate access to medical help.

Workers’ compensation benefits also apply to occupational diseases. These conditions develop over the course of more than one work shift.

Hearing loss is a good example. This condition is the most common occupational disease in the United States. If doctors intervene quickly enough, this condition is treatable. Any undue delay usually means the only option is risky and radical surgery to repair or replace the eardrum.

Such occupational diseases are also subject to the MMI rule, at least in most states. If Mary’s hearing is badly damaged, she may never hear things normally again, despite the best efforts of medical professionals.

Extending Workers’ Compensation Benefits

As mentioned, many doctors try to pull the plug too early. Attorneys intervene in these situations to keep the money flowing, so victims can keep getting therapy and keep improving.

The aforementioned disability determination may also come into play. If workers’ comp benefits end before victims reach MMI, insurance company lawyers typically argue that, based on their medical conditions, these victims aren’t entitled to permanent disability benefits. However, a “disability” is more than a medical term. This D-word also has educational, vocational, and other implications. Attorneys make such arguments in Administrative Law Judge appeal hearings.

In 2020, the total cost of job injury claims, mostly workers’ compensation benefits, exceeded $160 billion. These claims are so expensive that insurance companies will do almost anything to reduce these costs. Frequently, job injury victims unwittingly do some things, or don’t do some things, that help insurance companies reduce these costs. That means lower benefits for injured workers and their families.

Briefly, workers’ compensation is no-fault benefits that replace lost wages and pay medical bills connected to a job-related illness or injury. These victims don’t have to prove fault. However, they must prove the full extent of their losses. Any mistake during the claims process makes it almost impossible to meet this burden of proof.

Don’t Assume the Insurance Company Will Pay

First and foremost, never assume the insurance company will do the right thing and pay the claim. As mentioned, workers’ compensation claims are very costly. Insurance companies, like most other companies, are mostly interested in making money. They care little or nothing about the welfare of individual workers, especially since these workers don’t pay monthly premiums.

Don’t Do Normal Things

Overall, most lawyers suggest that recovering job injury victims do not do anything “normal.” If you normally pick up your children after school, make alternative arrangements. If you normally do the family grocery shopping, delegate that task to someone else. During initial reviews, Claims Examiners often ask about such items. If a victim is able to do everything except work, that omission looks suspicious. As far as many Claims Examiners are concerned, the mere suspicion of fraud is tantamount to fraud itself.

On a related note, when job injury victims appear at Claims Examiner hearings, we usually suggest they look injured. Act as if you’re having a bad day, even if you’re having a good day. To some extent, we all make judgments based on appearances. That’s a very bad habit, but that’s just the way it is. Something as simple as using or not using a cane could make a difference in a close case.

Don’t Disobey the Doctor

Also before the Claims Examiner hearing, follow a doctor’s instructions to the letter. This step is not as easy as it sounds, especially in some states. Many job injury victims must see company doctors, or doctors that have the company’s approval. Additionally, in some states, job injury victims are not entitled to second opinions.

Even in these states, a workers’ compensation attorney can usually set up an IME (independent medical examination), which is tantamount to a second opinion. Typically, IME doctors charge nothing upfront for their professional services.

If job injury victims disobey a doctor’s instructions, even if the instructions seem wrong, the victim might as well rubber-stamp the claim as “denied.”

Don’t Worry

We cannot stress this enough. An initial denial does not mean your claim is weak or meritless. So, do not figure that something is better than nothing and accept a low-ball settlement offer. Instead, turn your case over to your attorney and let your lawyer work for you.

In some cases, a workers’ compensation settlement is just around the corner. Most states have strong bad faith insurance laws. These companies act in bad faith when they refuse to pay valid claims. It’s also bad faith to delay an investigation or rubber-stamp a claim as “valid” or “invalid.” So, if the issues are clear, most workers’ compensation insurance companies must settle claims within a few weeks. However, as outlined below, the issues in a workers’ compensation case are seldom clear.

Therefore, most claims must go through all, or most of, the workers’ compensation process. This process begins with an injury report. Next, a Claims Examiner reviews the paperwork in the case, mostly the medical bills, and makes a decision. Most Claims Examiners deny most workers’ compensation claims, at least in part. When the case reaches the Administrative Law Judge appeal stage, an attorney has a better chance to clear up lingering issues and settle cases on favorable terms.

Medical Bill Issues

Most states require workers’ compensation insurance companies to pay all “reasonably necessary” medical bills. Unfortunately for victims, many insurance adjusters don’t use the facts of the case to decide what’s reasonably necessary.

The first workers’ compensation systems appeared around 1910. Since so much time has passed, more companies now evaluate medical bills like football coaches scout opponents. If a team has always run to the right on third and short, it’ll probably run to the right again. In the past, if X injury cost Y dollars in Z location, it’ll probably cost X dollars again.

The facts of the case could change any of these calculations. For example, if Mike sustains a serious trauma injury at work and all the trauma centers in Z location are full, Mike must go somewhere else.

Incidentally, workers’ comp settlements not only cover doctor bills. They also cover related expenses, such as emergency transportation, medical devices, and prescription drugs.

Lost Wage Replacement Issues in Workers’ Comp Settlements

Current lost wages are relatively easy to determine. However, some insurance company adjusters keep a thumb on the scale, so an attorney must be vigilant.

Future lost wages are different. Let’s go back to Mike. Assume he sustains a serious trauma injury, like a fall from a height, that causes significant loss of mobility. When it comes to future lost wages, a company doctor might approve nothing, reasoning that Mike can tough it out and work full speed. Another doctor might say that Mike must limit his work hours and activities for the rest of his life. That’s a very big difference.

The answer to this question depends on the nature and extent of the disability. Most people recover from neck injuries, if doctors are aggressive enough. Whiplash is a good example. This head-neck injury is very common in car crashes, even in parking lot fender-benders. It doesn’t take much force to jostle the neck and damage the nerves. Since whiplash is a soft tissue injury, X-rays and other diagnostic tests don’t detect it. Left untreated, the neck soreness associated with whiplash quickly becomes neck paralysis.

Other neck injuries, like repetitive stress injuries, occur slowly and over time. Most people don’t run to see doctors as soon as they wake up with stiff necks. RSI delayed treatment, like whiplash delayed treatment, usually has grave consequences. These permanent disability workers’ comp neck injury settlements are usually higher. The settlement compensates a victim for prior lost work and medical bills, as well as future lost work and medical bills.

Temporary Disabilities

By the book, workers’ compensation pays two-thirds of lost wages for job injury victims. But insurance companies threw out the book a long time ago. 

Instead of the AWW (average weekly wage), most insurance companies use set formulas to determine benefits. For example, a neck injury means X weeks off work, and based on the victim’s average income, that means Y dollars. The X and Y calculations are both off.

Assume Ron is in a fender-bender collision as he makes his deliveries. He sees a company doctor, who tells him to rest for about a week and then go back to work. If Ron has whiplash, and he probably does, he’ll need more than a week’s rest. In other words, not all neck injuries are created equally.

Now assume, as is usually the case, the insurance company only uses Ron’s past income to calculate his AWW. If Ron has part of a prorated signing bonus coming his way or he’ll miss overtime opportunities, his AWW must reflect these future losses.

Permanent Disabilities

Neck injuries aren’t usually completely debilitating. Most people can work, even with serious, lingering neck injuries. Truthfully, most victims want to work in these situations.

However, a temporary neck disability often limits work hours and work activities. That’s especially true if the victim has a bad day. So, to make up for future lost wages, workers’ compensation neck settlements usually include lump sum payments. These payments also include compensation for future medical bills.

The settlement negotiation process usually takes a while. A good negotiating rule of thumb is to always reject the first offer. The second, third, and fourth offers usually aren’t much better. So, it’s important for neck injury victims to trust their lawyers, see things through, and not lose heart. Otherwise, they often end up settling for less.

The answer to this question varies significantly among different insurance companies and in different states. The most reliable drug tests are also the most expensive ones, and we all know how stingy insurance companies feel about spending money. Additionally, some drugs are legal in some states, but not others. As of November 2023, about a dozen states, mostly in the West and Northeast, have legalized recreational marijuana.
Very few states require injured workers to take drug tests. Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance. Thus, strictly speaking, if the injury was work-related, it doesn’t matter if the victim was clumsy, high, or anything else. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration forbids drug testing in these situations, if the employer requested the test to retaliate against the employee.
Nevertheless, some states require them. Taking drugs is a pre-accident choice. Additionally, some insurance companies flatly don’t pay benefits in these situations. Some of the most common workers’ compensation drug tests are outlined below. Even the weaker ones are almost impossible to “beat,” unless the employee cheats.
Breath Tests
These tests are usually only available for alcohol and, in a few cases, marijuana. Breathalyzers indicate current impairment but not past use. Not many employers use these tests, partially because they’re so limited, and partially because most employers don’t have spare Breathalyzers laying around the office.
Urine Tests
Peeing into a cup is the cheapest, most effective, least invasive, and most common type of drug test. It’s also the only kind of drug test that federal law approves of.
Alcohol and most other substances linger in urine for about twelve hours. So, unless job injury victims take urine tests almost at the same time as they report their injuries, the tests are completely unreliable. A later test only proves the victim was high, not that the victim was high at the time of the injury.
Saliva Tests
These tests, which are also called oral tests, are almost as cheap, reliable and non-invasive as urine tests. Usually, an FDA-approved technician swabs the victim’s mouth. So, it’s very difficult to cheat on this test. The lookback period is a little longer as well. Most saliva tests detect most substances for up to forty-eight hours.
Swab tests also have additional moving parts. The technician, not the employer, sends the sample to a lab. Therefore, a lawyer can challenge a positive result based on the slightest irregularity. Generally, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Hair Tests
In some ways, hair tests are the most reliable drug tests. They detect almost any drug, including prescription drugs. Most hair tests also have ninety-day windows. Additionally, a technician usually plucks a hair. These two things together make it almost impossible to cheat.
In other ways, hair tests are the least reliable drug tests. At best, they’re about 50 or 60 percent accurate. The accuracy rate for some substances, notably amphetamines and methamphetamines, is substantially lower. As a result, at appeal hearings, workers’ compensation lawyers almost always convince Administrative Law Judges to throw out these test results.