How Much are You Paid under Workers’ Compensation in Virginia?
Find Out How Much You Can Receive Weekly for Workers’ Compensation in Virginia
The weeks and months following a work injury can be a difficult time. You are hurt and unable to work, with medical bills continuing to pile up. You don’t know what will happen next or when you will get paid. And you’re not sure how you are going to survive financially while navigating the workers’ compensation claims process.
We understand that this is a confusing time for you and your family. And we want to help.
This article explains how payments are made through Virginia workers’ compensation and how much workers’ compensation pays so that you can make sure that you have enough money to pay your mortgage, rent, car payment, utility bills, and groceries while you try to recover from your workplace accident until you can return to work.
If you have any questions about workers’ compensation, or are looking for a top-rated workers comp attorney in Virginia, contact Corey Pollard for a free consultation. We help injured employees in Richmond, Chesterfield, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Newport News, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach receive the maximum amount of workers’ compensation possible.
What are the Maximum Workers’ Compensation Payments in Virginia?
Workers’ compensation benefits are standardized in Virginia. The state establishes the benefits provided by employers and insurers for covered injuries and occupational illnesses. These benefits are not negotiable. Further, the state regulates the premiums that insurers charge for coverage.
Virginia workers’ compensation law has set maximum payment amounts to provide certainty to employees, employers, and insurance carriers. All parties to the workers’ compensation claim know what the potential benefits and costs are.
The maximum amount of workers’ compensation that you can receive is two-thirds of your pre-injury Average Weekly Wage or the Maximum Benefit for the year in which you were injured, whichever is lower.
For example, if you are injured at work and had been earning $900 per week, then you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly wage in temporary total disability benefits, which is $600. These workers’ compensation benefits are tax free.
Unfortunately those of you who are high wage earners or who make a decent income may suffer additional loss of income following an occupational injury because of the maximum benefit rate in Virginia. You may get stuck with a low maximum workers’ compensation rate that does not come close to two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wage.
Here are the maximum weekly wage rates for Virginia workers’ compensation for the past three years:
- 2015: $975.00 payable per week
- 2016: $996.00 payable per week
- 2017: $1,043.00 payable per week.
Here is an example of how the maximum workers compensation benefit works in Virginia.
Let’s say you earn $100,000.00 per year and were injured in 2016. Your average weekly wage is $1,923.07.
Under the general rule for workers’ compensation payments, you should receive $1,282.05 in temporary total disability payments each week through workers compensation. You will not receive that amount, however, because it exceeds the maximum workers comp benefit rate for 2016. So instead of receiving $1,282.05 per week in benefits you will receive only $996.00 per week in benefits.
As you can see, the maximum workers’ compensation rate has a negative impact on injured workers who make more than $80,000 per year. This is why negotiating a workers compensation settlement so that you can move forward and pursue an alternate career or accept a light duty job offer is often the best strategy for many injured workers.
What is the Average Weekly Wage for Workers Compensation in Virginia?
Your average weekly wage is the most important number in your workers’ compensation claim because it serves as the starting point for determining the value of your cash benefits or settlement. A minor mistake or inaccuracy in calculating your average weekly wage for workers’ compensation could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in indemnity benefits and reduce the settlement value of your claim. The higher your average weekly wage, the more money you will receive through workers’ compensation.
To determine your average weekly wage you take your earnings from the 52 week period before the work accident, take out any weeks where you had no earnings, and divide your total earnings during this period by the number of remaining weeks.
Make sure that you include any overtime payments, bonuses, commissions, vacation pay, allowances, fringe benefits (room, board, etc.), and other payments made by your employer. These may be included in your workers’ compensation average weekly wage calculation.
How Much Do I Get Paid Under Workers’ Comp if I Was Hurt at Work, But I Have Two Jobs?
Many of our clients are working two jobs to pay their bills and provide for their families. A work injury at one job may prevent you from working both jobs. This can cause severe financial hardship.
Under Virginia workers’ compensation your average weekly wage and earnings may include earnings from two or more jobs that are substantially similar. Virginia follows the majority rule that when an employee is hurt on one job while in concurrent employment with one or more other jobs, the average weekly wage compensated is based on the combined earnings of both jobs if, but only if, the employments are related or similar.
The Commission has stated that workers’ compensation is designed to place the economic burden of work-related injuries on industry and, more specifically, the employer. The rationale that the costs of work-related injuries should not expand beyond “similar employment” is to prevent the costs from being borne out of proportion to an industry’s payroll. An additional rationale is that a low risk industry should not bear the costs of a high risk injury when the employer is not a part of the high risk injury.
So what does this mean to you? And more specifically, how does it affect the amount you can receive under workers’ compensation in Virginia?
If you were working more than one job for two different employers, include your earnings from the other employer in your average weekly wage if the two jobs were similar. But be prepared to present evidence at your workers compensation hearing that the two jobs had: similar responsibilities; required similar skills; had similar primary missions; and, were in similar industries.
Contact a Skilled Workmans Compensation Lawyer to Maximize How Much Workers’ Comp Pays in Virginia
Though calculating your average weekly wage may seem simple, it is often the subject of negotiation and litigation in workers’ compensation. The insurance company will try to find ways to lower your weekly payments. But with an attorney on your side you can fight back and try to persuade the Commission to use a higher average weekly wage that is a fair representation of your income and expected earnings at the time of the workplace accident. Depending on your occupation, special average weekly wage rules may apply. This is especially true for those of you who work for school systems or local government.
You can help your attorney negotiate the highest average weekly wage possible by gathering all your wage records and payroll information. Though the employer must provide you and the Workers’ Compensation Commission with a wage chart, you should always use your own documents and information to check the accuracy of the employer’s wage chart.
To calculate the correct amount of workers’ compensation you’re owed, contact a top-rated workers’ compensation attorney review your claim following an occupational injury. In addition to making sure workers’ compensation pays you the full amount you deserve, we’ll help get your medical bills covered until you’re able to return to work and earn an income to support yourself and your family.
Contact Corey Pollard today to get started on the road to recovery.