If you’re hurt at work and go out on workers compensation, you’ll receive two types of benefits. Your medical care will be covered, and you’ll receive weekly replacement wages. Unfortunately, sometimes, the insurance company doesn’t pay you the right amount.
Here, we’ll explore how an experienced Columbus workers comp attorney can get the insurance company to pay you what you deserve in weekly benefits.
How Are Your Workers Comp Benefits Calculated?
When it comes to how much you’ll receive, it all hinges on your average weekly wages. In Ohio, your AWW is determined by adding up your last six weeks of wages and dividing the total by 6.
Imagine that you are injured on September 1. The insurance company will average your wages from around July 15th through August 31. They’ll get the raw data needed to determine your AWW from your employer.
For example, let’s say that you normally make anywhere from $700 to $900 per week. Your total wages for the 6 weeks prior to your workplace accident were $4,800. When you divide this number by 6, you get $800. This will be your AWW rate for the duration of your workers’ compensation claim.
Most states pay 2/3 of your average weekly wages (AWW) from day one. In Ohio, however, you’ll receive 72% for the first 12 weeks. After that, it decreases to 2/3 of your AWW.
Let’s assume that your average weekly wages are $800. For the first 12 weeks, you’ll receive 72% of that amount – or approximately $576 per week. After that, your benefit rate will drop to $533 per week.
Don’t Panic if Your Weekly Benefits Seem Lower Than They Should Be
At first glance, you may think your benefit rate is wrong. Usually, panic sets in and you pick up the phone to call your employer to find out what the problem is. However, many people don’t realize that there is a limit to how much you can receive in workers compensation benefits.
In Ohio, the maximum you can receive in benefits (for 2023) is $1,149 per week. The maximum rate changes every year. What this means is that people who normally make more than $1,725 per week will only receive $1,149.
Your Columbus workers comp lawyer will do the math and see what your benefits should be. They’ll make sure to consider all income, including bonuses and commissions. If the amount is wrong, they’ll reach out to the insurance adjuster handling your claim and find out what the issue is.
How Can You Make Sure the Insurance Company Included All of Your Income?
One question a lot of clients ask our Columbus workers comp attorney is what types of income count toward their average weekly wages. Some of them assume that it only includes their base wage or salary.
Aside from your base income, the insurance company is required to include the following:
- Work expenses
- Use of company car
- Shift differential pay
- Voluntary 401K contributions
- Holiday, vacation, sick, and personal time
- Profit sharing contributions
- Deferred compensation
This list is long. However, it’s important that you know what types of income count toward your AWW. Before you meet with your Columbus workers comp attorney, try to put together the documents needed to prove what you normally received for each type listed above.
How Long Can You Collect Workers Compensation Benefits in Ohio?
Sometimes, a new client comes to us not because their benefit amount is wrong but due to their benefits running out. Unless your workers comp doctor determines that you’re permanently and totally disabled, you can’t collect life-long benefits.
Most of the people our Columbus workers comp attorneys represent are only temporarily disabled. This means that there’s a limit to how long you can receive benefits.
In Ohio, you can collect workers compensation benefits for up to 200 weeks. Once you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), your benefits will be terminated. They will also end when you hit the 200-week mark.
Contact an Experienced Columbus Workers Comp Lawyer
If you need to get your workers’ compensation benefits fixed, you should call a Columbus workers comp attorney. They’ll check to see what your benefit rate should be. They’ll also work with the insurance company to make sure the correct benefit rate is implemented.
Our firm offers all new clients a free, initial consultation. All you have to do is call our office and speak with one of our representatives.