Does Workers’ Compensation Differ State by State?

How much is your arm worth? In Texas, the value of your arm if you lost it in a workplace accident would be about $108,360. What about your thumb? Your thumb is worth about $39,732. Photo of Texas sign

We bring this up because recently, ProPublica had a great report about how people who are injured at work can receive drastic amounts of compensation depending upon which state they live in.

In the story, the news source interviewed two workers who were injured at different Southern industrial plants, each losing his left arm in a piece of machinery. One man, Jeremy Lewis, is expected to receive just $45,000 in workers’ compensation. The other man, Josh Potter could be awarded benefits that will surpass $740,000 over his lifetime.

ProPublica explained why this is the case. “Lewis lived and worked in Alabama, which has the nation’s lowest workers’ comp benefits for amputations,” the news source said. “Potter had the comparative good fortune of losing his arm across the border in Georgia, which is far more generous when it comes to such catastrophic injuries.”

The news source said that this disparity illustrates how vastly different state laws are in regards to compensation for workplace injuries. “Congress allows each state to determine its own benefits, with no federal minimums, so workers who live across state lines from each other can experience entirely different outcomes for identical injuries,” ProPublica reported.

Keep in mind, Texas has some of the most unique workers’ compensation laws in the country. In the Lone Star State, employers can decide whether they want to subscribe to plans. If an employer decides to subscribe to a plan, workers’ compensation benefits can be limited to items like lost income and medical treatment—this means payouts can vary greatly.

To check to see how much your injury in Texas is valued at under an average subscriber plan, you can click here. Near the middle of this story, there is a tool where you can drop down, click an injury and compare it to national average payouts.

Remember, if your employer is not a subscriber to the Texas workers’ compensation system, then you can hold it liable for your injuries via a lawsuit. In this situation, you have a right to seek damages to pay for your hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses and lost wages.

Having a Workplace Injury Investigated

As we stated above, workers’ compensation in Texas is unique. If you are injured at work, it may prove to be vital to speak to an attorney who is familiar with the process. Keep in mind, there are only about 40 law firms now in Texas that choose to represent injured employees in workers’ compensation cases. This is because the process is incredibly complex.

The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Personal Injury Attorney

Source: http://www.propublica.org/article/how-much-is-your-arm-worth-depends-where-you-work



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