ROBERT XXXXXX v. XXXXXX BRIDGE COMPANY
Claim Administrator: ESIS, INC
Jurisdiction Claim No.: XXXX
Event Id: XXXX
Claim Administrator File No: XXXXXX
Date of Injury: 06-XX-1994
Notification of Possible COLA Entitlement
Filing Party Type: Received by VWC Notification of Possible COLA Entitlement
So, what do all these numbers mean?
Max Compensation Rate
The maximum compensation rate is a ceiling, so that the insurance companies and third-party administrators know what their maximum liability will be for paying weekly wage loss checks. Normally, compensation for on-the-job injuries is set to 2/3 of the average weekly wage. But if you make a lot (over $1,800.00/week gross, before taxes), you don’t get 2/3 of your average weekly wage if you are hurt on the job. In fact, if you are an airline pilot, experienced union carpenter, or other skilled tradesman or professional grossing $150,000/year, the workers’ comp insurance company will only be ordered to pay you about 41 cents on the dollar! This is why so many higher-earning clients of Abrams Landau Injury Law Firm are especially motivated to return to work; because they cannot possibly meet their bills and obligations while out on Virginia Workers’ Comp.
Minimum Compensation Rate
And what is the minimum compensation rate? If you work full time, and make very little, you’ll get at least the minimum rate. Say you made $300/week pre-injury, and then your authorized treating doctor writes you disability slips due to the fact that you cannot work. Rather than receiving $200/week, you would receive the minimum comp rate for that year. So if your industrial injury occurred in 2018, your weekly comp rate while out of work would be $270.50.
Just how much difference can cost-of-living adjustments make for me?
COLA can add significantly to the value of a case. By way of example, if a worker was injured in 2017, earning $900.00, so that her full weekly comp rate was $600.00, by 2021 her weekly comp rate will now be $647.54. If the injured worker failed to request cost-of-living adjustments for those years, or their counsel did not know how to do so, they would only be receiving 92% of what they should be getting 5 years post-injury. And if the claim went to the 500-week mark, cost-of-living adjustments could add tens of thousands of dollars in wage loss indemnity benefits.
While there is no cost-of-living adjustment for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) checks in those cases where there’s a permanency rating, nor are COLA available in cases involving Temporary Partial Disability checks, this aspect of workers’ compensation law is often overlooked. Failing to properly assert this legal right can cost disabled Virginia workers, and their families, thousands of dollars a year in tax-free benefits.