What benefits am I entitled to?
When you're injured on the job, there are a number of different benefits that you're entitled to. One benefit is what we call TIBs, T-I-B-S. That stands for temporary income benefits. And what the insurance company does is they take the 13 weeks prior to your date of injury, add up how much you made in those 13 weeks, and then average that amount, and that's called your average weekly wage. And then you're paid 70 percent of your average weekly wage as long as you're off work due to your injury.
And then at some point, the doctor's going to say, "Okay, you've reached what we call maximum medical improvement. In essence, you're as good as you're going to get." When you reach this point, you get what are called impairment income benefits. And the doctor's going to measure how much loss of use you've sustained to your body from your injury. You get three weeks' pay for every 1 percent of loss of use. If your impairment rating is a 15 percent or higher, that entitles you to another class of benefits called supplement income benefits. Those benefits are paid for up to seven and a half years from the date of your injury.
But you don't want to wait and talk to a lawyer once you get your rating and then are surprised that it was so low. You want to talk to a lawyer early on so the lawyer can be doing what needs to be done to make that rating or to get that rating as high as possible so that it adequately and appropriately compensates you on your case.