You've been injured, saw a doctor, notified your employer, and filed a workers' compensation claim.
You're receiving benefit payments to cover your medical expenses and lost wages, but how long will they last? What if you can't return to work in a week, a month, a year? Will you still be covered?
Can You Work?
In addition to compensating you for your medical costs, workers' compensation pays you for lost wages that you suffer. How much you'll get and how long you'll get payments depends on your state's statutes.
Temporary partial disability and Temporary total disability
Temporary partial disability applies when you have some disability that still allows you to perform limited or part-time work at a lower income level. In Maryland, if you have a temporary partial disability, the employer or insurer will pay 50 percent of the difference between your current wage and the wage you earned before the accident.
If you are injured and cannot work at all for a period of time, you may be eligible for temporary total disability. In many states, you can receive up to two-thirds your normal wage. In Alaska, you can get up to 80 percent of your spendable weekly wage.
These benefits last until you are no longer injured and are able to return to work, or until you reach maximum medical improvement, at which point you may be eligible for permanent disability. Some states also set a time limit on temporary total disability. In Wisconsin, you can get up to 1,000 weeks of temporary total disability. In Texas and Minnesota, you can only get up to 104 weeks of payments.
Permanent partial disability and Permanent total disability
For permanent partial and total disability, how long your benefits last will depend on the nature of your injury and limits set by law. For example, in Maryland, you can get 100 weeks of payments for the loss of a thumb, but only 25 weeks of payments for the loss of a pinky finger. In Pennsylvania, you can get 260 weeks of payments for each 10 percent of hearing loss suffered.
So, the answer of how long will your workers' compensation benefits lasts depends on the nature of your injury, how much your injury affects your ability to work, and the workers' compensation laws of your state. An experienced local workers compensation attorney will be able to give you a more detailed answer for your specific case.