The Feldman Williams law firm assists workers who have been severely injured on the job, providing legal representation for claims, settlement negotiations, and appeals. Many of our Florida clients, especially those who have suffered disabling injuries, ask our attorneys the same question: “How much will I get for a workers’ comp settlement?”

It’s only natural to be concerned about workers’ compensation benefits when your ability to earn a living has been seriously impaired. There are state-by-state variances in maximum allowed benefits, and the knowledge and experience of your workers’ compensation attorney can certainly make a difference. If you have been injured at work in Florida and would like an estimate of your case value, please contact Feldman Williams, PLLC today.

Labor Law FAQ: How Much Will I Get for a Workers’ Comp Settlement?

Individual workers’ compensation settlements vary according to the degree of injury, extent of disability, and other factors. If you are injured on the job, you should immediately seek an evaluation and pursue treatment recommended by your workers’ comp doctor.  When you are at maximum medical improvement (MMI) – a physician decides that nothing further can be done to improve your condition — the doctor will then reevaluate you. The end diagnosis and permanent impairment rating (PIR) are very important to your worker’s compensation settlement.

There are legal steps you can take after you reach MMI, so it is important to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney to learn about your rights.

There are certain types of workplace injuries that are automatically considered permanent and total, according to U.S. law. These injuries (such as a catastrophic brain or spinal cord injury or loss of an arm, leg, or hand) bring significant, far-reaching changes to the victim’s life. There are many other injuries that may also qualify for permanent total disability benefits. These include severe burns or any condition that renders the worker unable to function in pursuit of gainful employment.

Negotiated Workers’ Compensation Settlements

If you are found to have a permanent and total disability, you can qualify for lifetime payments or a lump sum settlement. These benefits are designed to cover two-thirds of your average weekly wage. There is a cap to these weekly benefits, as shown on the Florida Department of Financial Services website. Florida workers currently receive a maximum of $917 per week for temporary disability, and permanently injured workers receive 75% of this figure.

Most insurance companies seek to settle these types of cases with a lump sum, or you can negotiate another type of structured settlement, such as a single payment every year. A workers’ comp settlement, which is considered full and final, will take into account any and all evidence that demonstrates:

  • The severity of your injury
  • Anticipated out-of-pocket medical costs
  • Your wages prior to injury
  • Your ability to pursue gainful employment.

This is why choosing the right attorney can be paramount to the outcome of your case.

Florida’s Permanent Impairment Ratings

Fortunately, most injured workers are not permanently and totally disabled. Many are partially permanently disabled (PPD), however, which qualifies them for a workers’ compensation settlement. In Florida, you can be assigned anywhere from a 1% permanent impairment rating (PIR) all the way up to a 100% impairment for permanent total disability.

When your doctor assigns you a PIR, the rating is used to calculate benefits, with the degree of impairment corresponding to number of weeks benefits are paid. The impairment rating percentages break down as shown in the table below.

WORKERS' COMP IMPAIRMENT RATING PERCENTAGES/

Degree of Impairment

Weeks Paid (per point)

1 to 10%

Two weeks

11 to 15%

Three weeks

16 to 20%

 Four weeks

21% or more

Six weeks

Calculations are tiered, so, for example, you would receive 20 weeks’ pay for the first 10% impairment, another 15 weeks for 15%, and 20 weeks more if you are impaired 20%. A 30% impairment would come out to 105 weeks total.

Permanent wage benefits are calculated at 75% of what you receive while you are considered temporarily disabled. So, if you received $780 a week in total temporary benefits, you would qualify for $585 a week for permanent benefits. In our example of 30% impairment, it would be 105 weeks multiplied by $585 a week, or $61,425. A 100% impairment would obviously yield a much higher settlement.

Workers’ Compensation “Value of Body Parts”

Most states have a “schedule of injuries” that assigns a monetary value for the loss of use of a body part or sensory function, such as hearing or vision. Victims then receive a designated award according to their injury.

Although Florida does not provide a scheduled loss award list, victims who suffer a catastrophic, work-related loss are generally fairly compensated according to their degree of impairment.

Propublica.org, published a study showing the average “values” for various body parts in 2015. According to the study, the following workers’ compensation values were determined to be average for the United States and the state of Florida in 2015:

AVE VALUE OF BODY PARTS FOR WORKERS' COMP/

Body Part

U.S.

Florida

Arm

$169,878

$186,293

Leg

$153,221

$110,513

Hand

$144,930

$163,559

Foot

$91,779

$65,045

Thumb

$42,432

$42,311

Legal Help for a Workers’ Comp Settlement

If you are wondering, “how much will I get for a workers’ comp settlement?” or “what is my worker’s compensation case worth?” chances are you have been hurt pretty badly at work. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Feldman Williams can help you with all aspects of your case, from filing your claim to negotiating your maximum possible settlement. If you need help with a workers’ comp case, please don’t hesitate to contact Feldman Williams, PLLC today.