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Overview of how lost wages get figured

A Pittsburgh resident who gets hurt at work suffers two significant financial setbacks. For one, he or she will have medical bills that need to be covered, particularly, if the employee has high deductible health insurance that could still leave the employee stuck with thousands of dollars in bills.

Another big loss an injured worker faces is the loss of wages if he or she has to be out of work for an extended period. After all, one may have to be off the job for months following a serious work-related injury, and there may simply be enough vacation and sick time to cover all of that time, even when the employer is offering a generous benefits package.

Fortunately, Pennsylvania has a workers' compensation system that covers an injured worker's medical bills and lost income in most situations in which the worker gets hurt on the job. But, how lost wages get figured in workers' compensation cases is a little hard to understand, at least if someone is not familiar with the system

There are two considerations when figuring the amount of lost wages. The first question is whether the person is completely or only partially unable to work. Partially unable means that the person could probably work, but not in the same position or with the same hours and duties.

The second question is whether the disability is permanent or is only expected to last for a time and then get better. The first consideration determines the amount of the benefit, which is subject to statutory caps, and the second determines how long the benefits will be paid.

Answering these questions precisely is not always simple, as workers' compensation law has formulas and specific rules that govern how insurance companies and the employers they represent classify a work-related injury.

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