If you are employed in any of the following areas:
or if you earn in excess of $800 per week before taxes regardless of job type, you should carefully review your payroll documentation and your workers’ compensation check to make sure you are being paid the correct rate.
High wage earners face significant difficulty after a work place injury. Because they earned so much before they were hurt, high wage earners often are paid less than two thirds of their average weekly wage. This is because weekly workers’ compensation benefits are limited by law to a maximum benefits amount.
Currently, the maximum temporary total disability workers’ compensation rate is $653 per week. So, even if you earn more than $1000 per week, you will still only receive $653 per week in benefits.
While your high pre-injury wage results in a significant penalty during the time that you are unable to work, it can provide a significant benefit if you eventually are able to return to work.
Your adjuster may not tell you, but you may be able to draw your full workers’ compensation check even after you return to work. Trust our Baton Rouge workers’ compensation lawyer to help you navigate the complex legal system.
Here is how it works: If your work accident results in an injury that either temporarily or permanently reduces your ability to earn as much as you did before you were hurt you may be eligible for a significant benefit called Supplemental Earnings Benefits, or SEB for short. Supplemental Earnings Benefits are different from your temporary total disability benefits. SEB’s compensate you for your loss in earning capacity due to your injury.
Essentially, SEB’s compensate you for 66% of your monthly wages loss associated with a loss of earning capacity caused by your work injury. Simply put, if you are unable to earn 90% of the money you made prior to injury, because of your injury, then you will be entitled to SEB.
For example, if you were earning $1000 per week before you were hurt and are currently only able to earn $400 per week because of your injury, then your wage loss would be $600 per week. You would be entitled to 66% of $600 or about $400 per week. Technically, SEB is calculated and paid on a monthly basis, but for ease of explanation, a weekly illustration is provided. The only cap to the supplemental earnings benefits is that you can never draw more in supplemental earnings benefits than you could in temporary total disability benefits.
Warning – if you do not report wage losses to the insurance company they will not pay you the supplemental earnings benefits you deserve.
The SEB eligibility period is 520 weeks, with credit given for every week of temporary total disability (TTD) received. So, if you were off work for 26 weeks after your injury and received TTD for that period, when you returned to work, you would have 494 weeks of potential eligibility for SEB.
Your SEB will fluctuate every month depending upon how much you earn. It is very important to maintain good post-accident wage records. You will report your earnings to the employer/insurance company every month on a form called an LDOL-1020. This form must be turned in every month. If you fail to turn in this form you will not receive SEB until you do.
The office of J. David Smith, Attorney at Law will help you calculate your wage loss and report it correctly to the insurance company. Our Baton Rouge workers’ compensation lawyer will also document their compliance or non-compliance in case your claim ultimately ends up in court.
Many times the SEB is a major value driver in settlement negotiations. Higher pre-injury average weekly wage, usually results in larger SEB settlement figures. It is important to remember that the loss of earning capacity must be due to the injuries sustained in the work accident and not economic downturns, layoffs, or other issues.
J. David Smith would be happy to speak with you personally, on the telephone, or by email about your case. He will explain what the insurance company owes you and why at no cost or obligation to you. Our firm represents injured workers all over the State of Louisiana.