Breaking Down the Lost Wages Benefit in Mississippi
In today’s economy, every dime counts. That’s especially true when families must make do with less money because of a workplace injury. Without precise calculation, these reduced wages could be as much as 15 percent lower than they should be. More on this below.
Wage replacement is not the only available benefit. No-fault workers’ compensation insurance also covers all reasonably necessary medical bills. That includes not only core expenses, such as hospitalization, but also ancillary expenses, like transportation costs.
In the old days, these benefits were available for the asking. But today’s workers’ compensation bureaucracy is extremely complex. And, Claims Examiners almost always deny claims, at least in part. So, a partnership with a good Jackson workers’ compensation attorney might be the best way, and the only way, to get the benefits you deserve.
Calculating the Average Weekly Wage
In many ways, wage replacement hinges on the AWW calculation. Sometimes, this calculation is quite straightforward. But in most cases, an attorney needs a lot more than a calendar and a calculator to determine the victim’s AWW.
People change jobs frequently. These changes almost always involve salary changes. So, if a victim was hurt the first day on the job, the victim’s wage history might be almost irrelevant. Future wages determine the average weekly wage for workers’ compensation purposes.
On a related note, time changes wages. Many employees start with a probationary wage and then move up to full compensation.
NFL players are another example. These individuals earn almost nothing during training camp and significantly more money when the season starts. So, if Tim is hurt halfway during training camp and is expected to be out six weeks, his workers’ compensation payments should increase when his weekly wage would have increased.
The AWW also includes non-cash compensation, like housing allowance or tuition reimbursement, as well as performance bonuses, such as bonuses for hours worked or prorated signing bonuses.
In this context, the type of disability usually determines the exact amount of wage replacement, as follows:
- Temporary Total Disability: Most victims are in this category, at least initially. They are unable to work while they recover from their injuries and attend physical therapy sessions. Generally, these victims receive two-thirds of their AWW for the duration of their temporary disabilities.
- Temporary Partial Disability: These individuals are able to work, but they must accept light duty or reduced hours. So, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the difference between their old and new salaries. Many victims begin in the TTD category and transition to the TPD category.
- Permanent Total Disability: Sometimes, the injury is so severe that the individual can no longer work. “Disability” is not just a medical term. This word also has educational, vocational, and other implications. If the victim is disabled, a lump-sum payment based on the AWW is usually available.
- Permanent Partial Disability: These injuries are similar. Frequently, temporary disability victims reach their Maximum Medical Improvement level, yet there are still some lingering injury effects. A payment is available which compensates these victims for their losses.
During physical therapy, insurance companies often try to pull the financial plug before the victim heals completely or reaches MMI. An attorney keeps the money flowing during these critical times.
Reach Out to a Diligent Attorney
Wage replacement is often a very complex matter. For a free consultation with an experienced Jackson workers’ compensation lawyer, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.