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Best and Worst States for Workers' Compensation

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 24, 2015 3:45 PM

Workers' compensation programs are state specific. Each state has a different set of rules and requirements and grants different benefits.

So, what are the best and worst states for workers' compensation? It depends on what criteria you're looking at.

Statutory Waiting Periods

Most states have a waiting period after an injury before a person can claim disability benefits, with some exceptions. The waiting period is only three days in California, Iowa, and Illinois. In New Jersey, Georgia, and Florida, the waiting period is as long as seven days.

Length of Temporary Total Disability Benefits

If you have a temporary total disability, you'll be lucky if you live in Wisconsin. Wisconsin allows up to 1,000 weeks of temporary total disability benefits. Minnesota and Texas only allow 104 weeks.

Length of Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

For the best permanent partial disability benefits, Wisconsin is still the most generous state. It allows a maximum of 1,000 weeks. Massachusetts is the stingiest state, only allowing 156 weeks.

Amount of Payment

The amount of benefit payments usually is a percentage of your income prior to a disability. Alaska allows the highest percentage at 80 percent of spendable weekly wage. Most other states allow about 66 percent. However, in terms of maximum payment, Iowa offers the highest benefit of more than $1,100 per week. Mississippi offers only a little over $300 per week.

Cost To Employers

If you're an employer, workers' compensations cost you more in California than it would cost you in North Dakota. Employers in California pay over $3 in workers' comp premiums for every $100 in payroll. In North Dakota, employers pay less than $1.

What To Do If You Are Injured on The Job?

No matter what state you live in, if you suffered an injury at your work or if you believe that your injury is work related, you should:

  • See a Doctor - Get your injury diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Documentation of your injury will help substantiate your claim later on.
  • Notify Your Employer - Before you can file a claim, you must first notify your employer. While some states don't require written notice, it is best to keep a paper trail and do so in writing. Don't wait to do this. In Texas, you only have 30 days after an injury to notify your employer.
  • File a Claim On Time - Often, your employer will provide you with the forms to file a claim. However, your local workers' compensation agency may have additional forms, so don't forget to check with them as well. Again, don't wait to do this. Some states, like New Jersey and Florida, require you to file a claim within two years of an injury.

With such varying benefits and requirements, you should consult an experienced local workers' compensation attorney to help file your claim.

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