The process of obtaining permanent benefits is often slowed by the constant back-and-forth of negotiations amid parties with competing interests. Between determining what type of injury you have, the extent of your injury, how much workers compensation you’re entitled to, and how to pay it out, the process can drag on and be nothing short of disheartening. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The workers’ compensation team at Nuñez & Associates will review your case and injuries, form a rock-solid plan, assemble a team of witnesses, and skillfully negotiate with the employer and insurance companies for you. While you concentrate on healing, we’ll be fighting the legal battle for you, working hard to get you everything you deserve.
The earlier you bring us into the picture, the better. So don’t wait another day. Contact us to get started.
Permanent Injuries Overview
Permanent injuries for workers’ compensation purposes are classified into scheduled and unscheduled injuries. Scheduled injuries refer to those sustained to an eye, arm, hand, finger, foot or leg. Unscheduled injuries pertain to injuries of the back, neck, shoulder, hip or an occupational illness. If you have more than one scheduled injury, it is treated as unscheduled.
Compensation for a scheduled injury is based on whether you have a total or a partial loss of use of one of the scheduled body parts. A physician will assign a percentage of your disability between 1% and 99%, though the majority are less than 35%. A permanent total disability results in a 100% rating.
A statutory schedule determines the number of months you’ll receive monetary benefits. For a temporary partial loss, compensation is computed as 66.67% of your average monthly wage for as long as you are temporarily incapacitated if you are not working. For a permanent partial loss, you may currently be entitled to 50% of your average monthly wage for a prescribed number of months. If you have a total loss, you may be entitled to 55% of average monthly wage for a prescribed number of months. Finally, if you are unable to return to your regular employment you may be entitled to 75% of your average monthly wage for a prescribed number of months. Arizona law determines how many months you can receive compensation based upon your disability rating. This information also changes as Arizona law changes, so it’s important to consult with an attorney regarding your workers’ compensation claims.
Any injury not affecting the eyes, hands, fingers, foot, arm or leg is an unscheduled injury, including a combination of scheduled impairments. These payments are not subject to a limited number of months.
Your compensation is based on your ability to return to work, loss of earning capacity, education, age, restrictions, previous employment and wages earned after the injury, if any.
Workers may receive as permanent partial disability payments 55% of the difference between their pre-injury average monthly wage and what they are estimated to be able to earn post-injury. If the injured workers is totally incapacitated, compensation will be computed as 66% of the workers’ average monthly wage, monthly for life. All payments are made on a monthly basis. Again, this information changes as the laws change, so it’s important to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable on the changing workers’ compensation laws.
Lump Sum Settlements
In some cases, an injured worker receiving unscheduled permanent disability compensation may want a lump sum settlement. Reasons for seeking a lump-sum payment vary, and this is a personal decision that should be made with the advice of a knowledgeable attorney who is familiar with your situation. Another consideration for taking a lump-sum payment may be that the worker’s life expectancy has been shortened, because once the individual passes away, the payments end. This is a decision that the worker, the family and the workers’ compensation attorney should fully discuss before making. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with an attorney who can help you navigate your workers’ compensation claim.