Your Weekly Check
Your weekly compensation rate will be 66 2/3 of your pre-injury average weekly gross over the 52 week period immediately preceding your injury, including bonuses and overtime. Accurate calculation of you pre-injury wage is critical It affects how much the carrier pays you on a weekly basis during total disability, whether you are eligible for partial disability when you are released to light duty work, how much you are compensated for permanent loss of function to your body, and the ultimate settlement value of your claim. Most of the time your attorney will need all of your pay stubs for the 52 week period immediately preceding your accident to make this calculation. It is best to rely on your own records for this information. The employer's records or the information provided to the insurer by your employer may not include overtime, bonuses, perquisites or other valuable information. Currently the maximum compensation rate is $885.00. This changes annually.
Will My Check Ever Increase?
The maximum compensation rate in effect at the time of injury remains effective for the duration of the claim, even if you expected to receive pay increases had you not been injured. A cost of living adjustment (COLA) can be requested on a yearly basis. The increase must be requested; it is not automatic. There is no time limitation period within which the increase must be requested, assuming that an award of compensation has been entered and your case has not settled. COLA is retroactive to the first date of entitlement. COLA is first available to claimants under an award for total disability before July 1 of the year injured. It is effective October 1. The current COLA rate is 3.05%. If the injured worker's award provides for payment beginning after July 1 of a given year, they will not be eligible for a cost of living increase until October 1 of the following year. The increase is not available to claimants who have returned to work and are receiving partial disability.
Other Ways to Maximize Monetary Benefits As You Recover
Mileage reimbursement claims can also be helpful. Mileage is presently reimbursed at a rate of 50.5 cents per mile for trips to and from the treating doctor's office, therapy, hospital, diagnostic testing center, and the like, and for purposes of job search. A 50-mile round trip to the doctor's office yields $25.25 in mileage reimbursement. Therapy visits add up. Be sure to claim the mileage reimbursement you are entitled to by law.