The Wisconsin worker’s compensation system has two main types of benefits, for which an injured worker can claim compensation: indemnity and medical benefits.
First, indemnity benefits refer to claims for compensation that are owed to the injured worker. These benefits contain three main categories: temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, and loss of earning capacity and/or retraining benefits. These three benefits are the main indemnity benefits in Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation.
Temporary total or partial disability benefits (i.e. TTD) refer to benefits that are owed to an injured worker when he/she is completely off of work or on some type of restriction that prevents him/her to work his/her complete work schedule. For example, let’s say a worker injures her low back when she lifts up a bucket at work and sees her primary care physician, who takes her off of work for one month. The injured worker would have a claim for temporary total disability benefits during this period of time she is off of work. A different scenario presents itself if the worker is released with a restriction that limits her number of hours. If this happens, then she would have a claim for temporary partial disability benefits.
Permanent partial disability benefits (i.e. PPD) refer to benefits that are owed to an injured worker for a functional impairment to the body part which was injured in the work event. This functional impairment is in the form of a percentage that can only be assigned by a medical doctor. For example, let’s take the same worker that lifts up a bucket at work and hurts her low back. If her doctor assigned 2% PPD to her low back as a result of this injury, then she would have a claim for permanent partial disability benefits against the worker’s compensation insurance company.
Loss of earning capacity benefits and/or retraining benefits (i.e., LOEC, DVR, schooling) refer to benefits that are owed to an injured worker who cannot return to his/her date-of-injury employer due to permanent restrictions, which prevent his/her ability to do his/her job. For example, let’s go back to our example of the injured worker with a back injury. If her doctor releases her with a permanent restriction of no lifting, and her date-of-injury employer cannot accommodate this restriction, then she may have a claim for loss of earning capacity and/or retraining benefits. However, only a certified vocational rehabilitation counselor can determine such a vocational impairment.
The second main benefit in Wisconsin worker’s compensation is medical benefits. These are claims for medical expenses that owed to a medical provider for treatment rendered, to an injured worker for out-of-pocket medical expenses paid, and/or to a health insurance provider for medical claims paid. Let’s once again use our example of the lady that has a back injury from work. If she underwent surgery for this condition and the bills were processed by her health insurance company, then she would have a claim against the worker’s compensation insurance company for her health insurer to be reimbursed the money they paid out.
Indemnity and medical benefits are the main benefits in Wisconsin Worker’s compensation. However, every case is different, so call an experienced worker’s compensation attorney Milwaukee WI trusts in order to see what benefits are available to you.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers’ compensation practice.