A workplace accident or occupational injury can drastically affect your life and impact your ability to earn money, both now and in the future. If an injury to your back, neck, head or body as a whole has impaired your future ability to earn money, having an experienced workers compensation attorney by your side is likely best to ensure that you receive workers' compensation benefits for loss of earning capacity (LOEC).
Benefits for loss of earning capacity are paid according to a formula to partially compensate an injured worker for income that has not yet been earned. It is intended for situations where permanent restrictions cause you to lose your job or sustain a permanent wage loss. Determining the value of your LOEC claim is complicated and can require careful analysis by an experienced workers compensation attorney, often in consultation with an expert who will review your unique situation and calculate the expected reduction in your ability to earn a living in the future.
In Wisconsin, an injured worker is eligible for LOEC benefits when they suffer an injury to the neck, torso, or head, or body as a whole, and the injured worker is placed on permanent restrictions that prevent them from returning to work at 85% of their pre-injury wages.
After being presented with your permanent work restrictions, your employer has 60 days to offer you a job with less than a 15% wage loss. If your new job requires that you take a reduction of more than 15% of your pre-injury wages or if your employer terminates you, you are entitled to LOEC benefits. Loss of earning capacity benefits are payable in addition to Temporary Total Disability (TTD) or Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits that were already approved. However, the vast majority of the time, a worker’s compensation insurer will not pay LOEC benefits without a fight.
Loss of earning capacity benefits are expressed as a percentage applied to 1,000 weeks of work and are paid at the same rate as a PPD claim. An injured worker who is completely unable to work in the future due to the work injury can claim the highest level of LOEC benefits, which is permanent total disability (PTD). PTD benefits are paid at 2/3 of your gross average weekly wage rate for lifetime.
Benefits for LOEC provide partial payment for the lost income you will incur over the course of your lifetime due to a workplace injury. LOEC benefits are only available if you suffered an injury to your spine, head, or torso, or body as a whole caused by a workplace injury. Oftentimes it can be confusing to understand the extent and specificity of your injuries. Speaking to us can ensure no injury goes under appreciated or unnoticed. To qualify, you must have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and your permanent work restrictions prevent you from earning no more than 85% of your pre-injury wages.
Claims for LOEC benefits are presented through testimony from an expert who will consider factors such as your age, education, training, and work history. This reason, along with obtaining appropriate permanent restrictions from your doctors, is why having us on your side crucial to developing the strongest possible case.
A claim for LOEC can significantly increase the value of your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits will provide financial assistance for you and your family after a workplace injury.
Suppose a vocational expert determines that you have a 35% loss of earning capacity valued at $362 per week. Your benefits would be calculated as follows:
35% LOEC = 350 weeks at $362 per week = $126,700
Because a claim for LOEC can significantly increase the value of your workers’ compensation claim, many employers and their insurance representatives will not tell you you are eligible for these benefits. Moreover, they are far more likely to fight claims for LOEC benefits aggressively. As a result, obtaining these benefits often requires assistance from an experienced workers compensation attorney.
If you suffered a workplace accident or occupational injury that involved your head, neck, or low back, have reached MMI, and your earnings are less than 85% of your pre-injury wages, you may qualify for LOEC benefits.
To give yourself the best chance of recovering these benefits, you should work with an experienced Wisconsin workers compensation attorney who understands the laws and precedents that apply Wisconsin claims for LOEC benefits.
Kingree Law Firm will analyze your situation, determine whether you qualify for loss of earning capacity benefits, and help you successfully present your claim.
Wisconsin workers compensation attorney Luke Kingree knows what it takes to successfully prepare a claim for LOEC benefits. He will present your claim in a way that increases the likelihood it will be approved and will fight for your right to compensation.
To learn more, visit our FAQ section and Information Center, then contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced workers compensation attorney to discuss your situation and how we can help.
With offices in Madison and Eau Claire, Kingree Law Firm proudly represents injured workers throughout Wisconsin.