When an injury or illness hinders your ability to work, Colorado’s workers’ compensation system can provide financial assistance to compensate for lost wages. While it won’t cover your entire income, workers’ comp can help bridge the pay gap caused by a medical condition. This article delves into the types and extent of lost wage benefits available in Colorado’s workers’ compensation system.
Types of Lost Wage Benefits
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits
If your work-related injury partially affects your ability to work, such as by reducing your working hours or requiring a modified position, you may qualify for temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. TPD benefits aim to compensate for the difference between your previous income and your current earnings. These benefits continue until you fully recover and can resume your regular work capacity.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits
In cases where your injury renders you unable to work, but medical professionals believe the disability is temporary, you may be eligible for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. With TTD benefits, you can receive two-thirds of your average weekly wages every two weeks until your doctor clears you to return to work.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits
If a physician diagnoses you with a permanent loss of function or impairment, you may qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. These benefits provide monetary compensation for an extended period, and the amount is determined based on the percentage of loss determined by your doctor and Colorado statutes.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits
In cases where a workplace accident results in a permanent total disability (PTD) that prevents you from earning any wages for the rest of your life, you can receive PTD benefits. The amount of PTD benefits is equivalent to the benefits received for permanent partial disability and continues for an extended duration.
Determining Lost Wage Benefits
The calculation of lost wage benefits in Colorado workers’ compensation claims depends on several factors, including the extent of your injury, your ability to return to work, and your average weekly wages prior to the injury or illness. If you continue to work after filing a work comp claim, it may affect your lost wage claim as well. Colorado’s workers’ compensation system allows for the recovery of two-thirds of your weekly wages, subject to minimum and maximum limits defined by the state. As of 2021, the maximum compensation benefit rate in Colorado is $1,074.22 per week. There are also specific caps for lump-sum payments, cases involving bodily disfigurement, and incidents resulting in worker deaths.
Supplemental Lost Wage Benefits
Aside from the primary lost wage benefits, there are two types of supplemental benefits you may qualify for:
- Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
If you suffer a permanent disability and your employer cannot offer alternative work, you may be eligible for a supplemental job displacement voucher. This voucher helps cover the costs of new job training or education to enhance your employability. In addition, if you qualify for a supplemental job displacement voucher, you may be eligible for a one-time payment of $5,000 through Colorado’s return-to-work supplement program.
- Return-to-Work Supplement Benefits
Colorado’s return-to-work supplement program provides a one-time payment of $5,000 to individuals who qualify for a supplemental job displacement voucher. This program aims to support injured workers in their transition back to the workforce.
Seeking Fair Compensation
If you believe that the lost wage benefits offered by your employer’s insurance provider are insufficient, it is crucial to seek the guidance of an attorney. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assess the value of your claim and help you pursue fair compensation. They can also provide guidance on the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek full recovery of your lost wages. By taking legal action, you may be able to recover 100% of your lost wages.
Consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney in Denver will provide you with valuable information and guidance regarding your options. They can help you navigate the complex workers’ compensation system, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and ensure that your rights are protected.
Colorado’s workers’ compensation system provides essential support to workers who experience injuries or illnesses that impact their ability to work. Although workers’ comp does not cover the full extent of lost wages, it offers partial compensation based on various factors. Understanding the types of lost wage benefits available, such as TPD, TTD, PPD, and PTD, is crucial in determining the compensation you may receive. Additionally, the availability of supplemental benefits like job displacement vouchers and return-to-work supplements further aids injured workers in their recovery process.
If you believe you are not receiving fair lost wage benefits, it is advisable to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney who can assess your situation and guide you towards the appropriate legal actions. Remember, seeking professional assistance can help you navigate the complexities of the workers’ compensation system and ensure that you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.