Workers’ compensation coverage provides partial wage replacement for an employee recovering from a work-related injury, up to 104-weeks. But what if you suffer a serious on-the-job injury that keeps you from working for longer than 104-weeks?
Using a Disability Compensation Formula
For certain injuries that result in long-term but only partial disability – say lingering shoulder or knee pain – the compensation is usually quite limited. A doctor, who often works for the insurance company, will examine you to determine your percentage of impairment. Using a formula based on your pre-injury wage and the extent of the impairment, you would receive a lump-sum check. For example, say you were declared 10 percent impaired with carpal tunnel syndrome or back pain – two of the most common workers’ compensation injuries – and your average weekly wages were $700. Using the state’s formula, you would receive a check for $23,700. While that may seem like a lot of money, for a person whose ability to work is potentially impaired for decades, it may fall very short of his or her actual economic loss.
Lifetime Income Benefits
There are some injuries that are so severe they entitle an employee to income benefits for the rest of his or her life. Those injuries are specifically spelled out by statute in Texas and include:
- Total and permanent loss of sight in both eyes
- Loss of both feet at or above the ankle
- Loss of both hands at or above the wrist
- Loss of one foot at or above the ankle and the loss of one hand at or above the wrist
- An injury to the spine that results in permanent and complete paralysis of both arms, both legs, or one arm and one leg
- A physically traumatic injury to the brain resulting in incurable insanity or imbecility, or
- Third-degree burns that cover at least 40-percent of the body and require grafting, or third-degree burns covering the majority of either both hands or one hand and the face.
Workers who have suffered these injuries are entitled to lifetime income benefits worth 75-percent of their weekly wages, plus a 3-percent increase each year.
Hiring a Texas Lawyer to Help You Recover for Your Loss of Limb Injury
The workers’ compensation system in Texas and across the country is complicated, difficult to navigate, and in many cases, unfair. If you’ve been injured at work and want to pursue workers’ compensation, don’t go it alone. Contact an attorney to determine your best options.