Most employers in Kansas City are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, otherwise known as workers’ comp. This insurance pays for injuries and illnesses suffered by employees on the job. Workers’ comp is available whether or not an employer or coworker was negligent. Learning how much a workers’ compensation claim might be worth could give you a better idea of the potential value of your case after suffering a serious workplace injury.
Average Workers’ Comp Settlement Value
Workers’ compensation settlement values in Kansas City range from $2,000 to $40,000 or more, with the average amount hovering around $22,000. These figures come from national workers’ compensation program data from recent years. However, settlement values can vary drastically from case to case. A worker with a permanent disability, for example, could receive $1 million or more in a workers’ comp insurance settlement for a lifetime of related expenses. It is important not to base the potential value of your workers’ comp claim on an alleged “average.”
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available
Understanding the value of a workers’ compensation claim requires listing the types of benefits that are available to a claimant based on the circumstances. While each state has its own workers’ comp laws, the types of coverage that are available remain essentially the same. An injured employee in Kansas City may be able to collect the following types of workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical expenses – all hospital bills and necessary medical costs associated with the occupational injury or illness, which may include hospital stays, surgeries, rehabilitation, therapies and medications.
- Lost wages – an amount to pay for the wages the victim lost from taking time off of work to heal, as well as any future lost earnings from a long-term injury.
- Disability – payment for a partial temporary, total temporary, partial permanent or total permanent disability caused by a work accident. The amount of money and length of time these benefits will last depend on the extent of the disability.
- Death benefits – reasonable funeral and burial costs for a worker who was killed on the job, as well as lost wage and inheritance benefits given to surviving beneficiaries.
The exact amounts available depend on state law. In Kansas, for example, lost wage payments typically reimburse a worker for two-thirds or 66 percent of his or her average weekly wage, with a maximum of 75 percent of the state’s average income. This results in a maximum weekly benefit of $570 in Kansas, with disability benefits capped at $155,000 for a permanent total disability and $130,000 for temporary total or permanent partial disability.
Why You Shouldn’t Go By Averages
A variety of factors go into calculating the final payout of a workers’ compensation claim. This is why it is critical for an injured worker not to base the value of his or her specific claim on a preconceived notion of what an “average payout” looks like. Workers’ comp claim values must be carefully calculated based on specific facts, such as the victim’s level of disability, extent of injury, and amount of earnings before and after the accident.
Basing the potential value of your workers’ comp case on an average puts you at risk of accepting less than you deserve during an insurance claim. Your case may be worth more than the average payout in your state – sometimes, significantly more. Once you accept a workers’ comp insurance settlement, you cannot reopen your case or renegotiate for a higher amount. You also lose the right to sue your employer for negligence.
A workplace injury lawsuit against a negligent employer could result in greater compensation than a workers’ comp settlement, including a payout for pain and suffering. Before accepting a workers’ compensation insurance settlement, contact a Kansas City work injury attorney for a free consultation. An attorney can calculate the potential value of your case and help you explore your legal options.