Calculating Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Nurse helping disabled person exit van to get to wheelchair

In addition to receiving medical care, when a person is injured on the job and suffers a debilitating injury that leaves the worker with permanent problems, he or she is entitled to monetary compensation called “permanent disability.”  There are two types of “permanent disability” compensation: “partial disability” and “total disability.”  When someone is injured on the job and has lingering physical or mental effects of the injury, but is still able to work even if they cannot return to their former job, then they are entitled to “partial disability” compensation.  The amount is paid in one lump sum using a formula with three parts.


1. Compensation Rate
The first part of the formula is called the “compensation rate,” which is two thirds of the wages earned by the employee in the last 13 full weeks of employment prior to the injury.  This amount is capped by law according to the chart on page 2 linked here:


2. Type of INjury
The second part of the formula for permanent “partial disability” compensation is a number assigned to the part of the body injured.  There is no particular reason for the numbers assigned, other than injuries to the back, neck and head receive the highest number (meaning greatest compensation) and injuries to the toes and fingers receive the lowest number (meaning least amount of compensation).  A chart listing the number assigned to each body part is linked here:


3. Percentage of Disability
The third part of the formula for “permanent partial” disability compensation is a percentage of disability.  This is a very subjective determination and it is here where an attorney can be of most assistance to you.  If the parties cannot agree to the percentage of disability, then a judge will decide the percentage of disability to be assigned. The judge will take into account disability ratings given by doctors.  Workers’ compensation doctors who are hired by the insurance companies will inevitably give a low or even zero percent disability rating.  Physicians chosen by your attorney will perform a medical evaluation and likely assign a much higher disability rating than that given by the insurance doctor.

When calculating the lump sum that you will receive for your permanent “partial disability,” your compensation rate is multiplied by the number assigned to the part of the body injured, and then that number is multiplied by your percentage of disability.  By way of example, a person with a compensation rate of $500 who has a back injury resulting in a 5% disability will receive $10,000 in permanent “partial disability” compensation ($500 X 5% X 400).

For permanent “partial disability” compensation it is often, but not always, in the employee’s benefit to hire an attorney.  However, there are many instances where I have advised a potential client that I would not be able to substantially improve their settlement offer and it would be a waste of their money to hire an attorney.  I freely provide this advise and will evaluate your claim for free.  If I do not think that I can improve the amount of compensation that you receive then I will not take your case.

If however, an injured employee is rendered completely unable to work and permanently and “totally disabled” by a work injury, then instead of a lump sum the employee will receive a weekly check equal to his or her weekly “compensation rate” for each week of their life.  For many employees, this amount can be equal to several hundred thousand dollars in present value terms.  If you are permanently and “totally disabled,” it is highly likely that an attorney would be able to help you maximize your compensation.

About the Author

When it comes to workers’ compensation cases, Randy Alberhasky has over 25 years of experience. During his legal career he has personally tried over 200 workers’ compensation hearings and jury trials in courts throughout the State of Missouri. Many people who have suffered from a workplace injury and illness are unaware of the legal action they can take to receive the financial compensation that they deserve.  The Alberhasky Law Firm, P.C. is proud to help our clients receive the compensation they deserve.

About Randy

During his legal career he has personally tried over 200 workers’ compensation hearings and jury trials, has been counsel in over 50 cases before the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, 35 cases in front of the Missouri Court of Appeals and 3 cases before the Missouri Supreme Court. Read More…

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