What is my Case Worth? Workers Compensation FAQ
What is my case worth? Frequently asked questions from the Accident Recovery Team.
Hey Todd King with Accident Recovery here answering one of the most frequently asked questions we hear, what is my case worth? When someone has been hurt at work and they know they have a workers compensation case, typically this is the first question that comes up. However, if pursuing your case is contingent upon that value the answer can be complicated. The short answer is easy, however, and that is I don't know the value of your case without further investigation.
Workers Compensation Statute
What is my case worth? The statute breaks down the value of these cases and how to calculate damages in different ways. The first category of damages involves the
physical damage to your body. The statute also breaks down what are called scheduled injuries. Scheduled injuries are isolated parts of your body like your hand, arm, foot, knee, or leg.
With injury to those specific isolated limbs and body parts you would be compensated based upon the damage to the body part. The real value of that case in particular would be the body part in question. What percentage of disability or functional impairment assigned to that body part for the injury by a physician. What your wages were at the time that you were injured, more accurately averaged over the 26 weeks before you were injured is highly important. We could then calculate the value of your case with this information.
Impairment Rating | What is my case worth?
When someone comes to see me and they've just been injured, and doctor has not given them an impairment rating. However, we can figure out the wages so we know two of the three variables in calculating that injury.
Your body part the impairment rating is variable we usually don't know at the time of initial consultation. It is the factor that is most disputed and becomes the source of litigation or negotiated settlement. The insurance company certainly will have you rated by a doctor of their choosing. Personally I would send you to a doctor for a second opinion. A doctor of our choosing for you. The statute requires that the rating be given under the the AMA guides the evaluation of permanent impairment. This provides two methods for calculating impairment ratings. one is diagnostic and one is clinical. One produces a low rating while the other produces a higher rating. Both are perfectly acceptable and legal. The judge gives equal weight to both methods. Often there is a low rating on one side and a high on the other.
Negotiating then begins or the matter has to be determined by a judge.
Loss of Employment
The second category of damages involves the injury being sufficient or in a category that would cause a loss of employment. The first threshold is we're dealing with what's called a body injury. A body injury is the head, neck, trunk, or a combination of limbs. For example both my arms or legs. That category of body rating is calculated in the same method as you would an arm or a foot except that a body rating is mathematically a higher rating.
The restriction is that you must have over a 7 1/2% impairment to the body and a set of restrictions that cause a loss of employment. That means you don't just have a knee injury. You I have a head, neck, trunk, or combination of limbs injury. Because of those factors, the "I've lost my job" category of damages is called a work disability.
What is my case worth? A work disability is awarded to you based upon a wage loss before the employment related accident. This means you were making this much money, now you aren't making any money or making less money than before. The judge has the option to decide based on what they think you could make. Basically a task loss and it's an average of a wage and task loss.
Task Loss | "What is my case worth?"
The task loss is determined by the doctors. A vocational expert will create a list of the tasks you perform in order to make money at your job. The doctor then will peruse that list and determine what tasks from the task list you can or cannot do and that produces a task list.
There are 3 categories this falls under. The first category is physical damage, the second is economic damage, and the third category is an injury so bad that you are no longer employable. That third category is $150,000 statutory payout and there's no math to be done. It's a hard burden to meet and you'd typically the vocational expert and the doctor agreeing that you're unemployable. The insurance company would likely challenge this with their own experts.
That's a basic summary of the different kinds of damages and categories of damages that you can have in a work comp case "What is my case worth?"
Have you been injured at work? Consultations are always free so give us a call, the Accident Recovery Team, at 267-TEAM now!