How much does workers comp pay in Wisconsin for a back injury, depends on several factors. First, a doctor must state you have a work-related permanent injury at the end of the healing period. Then Wisconsin law says you are entitled to permanent partial disability benefits or a settlement, but we have to look at the statute schedule for the amount depending on the body part injury.
Secondly, if an injured worker can return to the job making the same money, the benefits or settlement is probably based on the percentage of disability the treating doctor or surgeon assigns, and possibly a compromise based on what the independent medical examiner or IME doctor assigns. These are called permanent partial disability or PPD benefits. If the doctor or surgeon also assigns permanent work restrictions preventing the injured worker from returning to the job, then there may be loss of earning capacity or vocational retraining benefits available, which result in a much larger settlement benefits.
Thirdly, if work-related permanent restrictions prevent you from returning to your employer and earning 85% of your average weekly wage, a vocational expert can determine your potential for retraining benefits or loss of earning capacity benefits. The permanent work restrictions for a neck or back injury are usually physical, based on lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying items in terms of pounds. McCormick Law Office attorneys get the best results for back injury settlements by asking the doctor or surgeon to address range of motion limitations such as ability to bend, twist, climb, crawl and squat. We also want the doctor to state if there are any hours or days limitations, and if any necessary medication may impact an injured worker’s ability to work. With a physical back or neck injury, there may be psychological restrictions due to anxiety or depression from dealing with physical pain and disability, which may factor in.
Fourth, a vocational expert is hired by our office to evaluate the injured worker for retraining or loss of earning capacity. The vocational specialist interviews our client and takes into account three primary factors: past work experience, education level and special training, and current permanent work restrictions. The vocational expert determines what your pre-injury earning capacity was and compares it to what your post-injury earning capacity is. Then the expert gives opinions regarding retraining and/or loss of earning capacity.
Finally, workers comp pay in Wisconsin for retraining and LOEC benefits depends on the average weekly wage you were earning at the injury. McCormick Law Office has successfully handled workers compensation neck or back injury settlements up to half a million dollars, but it all depends on many factors as well as basic liability and causation questions.