Workers’ compensation laws protect workers and job providers alike against occupational injuries and illnesses that cause workers to incur medical costs and lose time on the job. When workers suffer injuries, workers’ compensation insurance pays the costs, up to policy limits and based on state laws. Workers’ compensation insurance also protects employers against lawsuits from workplace accidents.
Private industry job providers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2017, which is a rate of 2.8 per 100 full-time workers or the equivalent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. Private industry employers reported some 45,800 fewer nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses from a year earlier.
Since 2004, the total rate of recordable nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in the United States fell by 0.1 cases per 100 full-time workers or the equivalent each year except 2012.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance plan that pays for work-related injuries and illnesses. It also protects employers against lawsuits arising from workplace injuries and illnesses. When workers accept workers’ compensation to cover the costs of their workplace injuries and illnesses, they give up the right to sue their employers, except for cases involving intentional acts. Workers' compensation covers:
Medical benefits pay for all reasonable and necessary costs for medical treatment, hospitalization and prescriptions arising from workplace injuries and illnesses. The job provider has the right to choose an authorized doctor or medical facility. The worker can choose a medical provider in cases of an emergency or if the employer refuses to provide medical treatment.
Temporary total disability benefits apply when a worker suffers a work-related injury or illness that disables the worker for more than a week. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the temporary total disability benefit pays 70 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage, not to exceed 75 percent of the respective state average weekly wage. The benefits end when the worker returns to work or has reached maximum medical improvement, which is when no medical treatment would improve the worker’s condition.
When a worker suffers partial or total permanent injuries, disability benefits provide an additional layer of financial protection. Temporary total disability benefits pay for 70 percent of workers’ average weekly wage during the time they are incapable of working and receiving medical care. Benefits end upon returning to work or upon reaching maximum medical improvement.
Permanent total disability benefits provide 70 percent of workers’ wages while unable to work for up to 450 weeks. After the initial 450 weeks, workers’ continue receiving benefits so long as they can show they no longer can earn wages. Any wages earned after the initial 450 weeks offsets any continued total disability benefits.
Death benefits go to dependents of workers killed due to work-related injuries or illnesses and equal 70 percent of deceased workers’ pay. The benefit is divided among the dependents. A surviving spouse and any natural children living in the household at the time of the deceased worker ‘s death qualify as dependents. Others must prove their dependency to receive a portion of the death benefit.
Death benefits go to dependents of workers killed due to work-related injuries or illnesses and equal 70 percent of deceased workers’ pay. The benefit is divided among the dependents. A surviving spouse and any natural children living in the household at the time of the deceased worker ‘s death qualify as dependents. Others must prove their actual dependency to receive a portion of the death benefit.
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Permanent total disability benefits provide 70 percent of workers’ wages while unable to work for up to 450 weeks.
The statewide average weekly wage (SAWW) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania determines the maximum weekly workers’ compensation benefit in each state. In New Jersey, the SAWW is $1,203 for 2018, which establishes a maximum weekly benefit of $903. Pennsylvania workers can receive up to $1,025 in weekly benefits based on a SAWW of $1,337. Those amounts are adjusted each year as each states’ respective labor departments report new SAWW numbers for the prior year.
Workers receive up to 70 percent of their average weekly wages in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, up to the 75 percent SAWW maximum. They also qualify for a minimum benefit of 20 percent of the SAWW in each state when their wages are particularly low.
Part-time workers earning minimum or near-minimum wages often benefit from the 20 percent minimum, due to their lower average weekly earnings.
Workers’ compensation benefits are essential tools for protecting workers from injuries and illnesses caused by work condition. Those benefits sometimes are underpaid or denied for the wrong reasons. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Petrillo & Goldberg can help ensure you receive the maximum benefit owed for workplace injuries and illnesses.
The highly competent lawyers at Petrillo and Goldberg represent clients with personal injury claims, workers compensation claims, slip-and-fall cases and automobile accident victims. We work for you, and take our job of getting the best possible results for you seriously.