Basic Compensation Rate in Workers' Comp Cases
If you are injured on the job, your goal is to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you need to pay medical bills, make up for lost wages, and cover other losses related to your injury. Your employer and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer, however, have other goals – including the goal to minimize costs by limiting the amount of benefits paid to injured workers.
Negotiating a workers’ compensation claim can be difficult, especially when you’re already trying to recover from injury. Company nurses, insurance company representatives, and insurance company attorneys may work to prevent you from receiving the full amount of compensation you are due under the law. In addition, workers’ compensation rules can be complex and difficult to navigate.
At Kocian Law Group, we believe in leveling the playing field when it comes to workers’ compensation. We’re dedicated to providing thorough and knowledgeable representation to each injured worker we represent.
The Kocian Law Group knows workers’ compensation. We can intervene on your behalf at nearly any point in the workers’ compensation process, whether you’ve just been injured or are already navigating a claim. When you are injured at work, our workers’ compensation attorneys can:
- handle insurance company phone calls on your behalf;
- advocate for you when benefits or treatment are withheld;
- prevent you from receiving less than fair compensation due to corporate cost-saving measures;
- ensure that you receive all of the benefits to which you’re entitled under Connecticut law,
- ensure that you receive a fair award for all losses you’ve suffered; and
- aggressively advocate on your behalf in court when necessary – even in an emergency.
These services are provided to Kocian Law Group clients with no up-front fees, and there is no charge for our initial consultation. The Kocian Law Group strives to make a complicated set of workers’ compensation rules accessible to our clients – starting with a free and confidential consultation.
What is the Connecticut “Basic Compensation Rate” [BCR]? How do my wages get paid when I am hurt on the job?
Payments under Connecticut’s workers’ compensation law are based on the “basic compensation rate.” Normally, this is the amount that an injured worker will receive either weekly or bi-weekly while he or she is out of work. This rate is also used to calculate other benefits, such as awards for loss of a limb, loss of limb or organ function, and scarring.
Under Connecticut state law, the basic compensation rate is set at 75 percent of a worker’s “net average weekly wage.” The “net average weekly wage” equals 75 percent of your wages after adjustments for taxes.
Your BCR is based on your actual wages for a period of one year prior to the date of injury. Figures included in your BCR include wages, bonuses, and overtime pay — not just your “base” salary.
When might my BCR be higher than 75 percent of my average weekly wage?
For certain classes of workers, some laws provide for more compensation. For example, some injured workers, such as police or correctional officers, may be entitled to 100 percent pay under some circumstances. If the injury is the result of certain repeated safety violations, an injured worker may receive 100 percent pay for total disability.
State workers who carry out certain “hazardous duties” are also entitled to 100% pay in some circumstances. However, conflicts may arise concerning whether injured workers’ duties fit the definition of “hazardous duties” provided by law. Electing the 100% pay option may also have long-term effects if you are expected to be out of work long term. If you are injured performing certain hazardous duties, it is important to be fully informed.
Do not expect an insurance company or an employer to tell you if you qualify for increased workers’ compensation payments. At Kocian Law Group we do this work for you to help you properly determine your BCR. Kocian Law Group attorneys will fully inform you about all the factors that affect your own basic compensation rate.
What if I’ve worked at my job for less than one year?
The basic compensation rate is normally based upon average earnings over a 52-week time period. If the injured worker put in fewer than 52 weeks or missed work during some of the weeks, the worker’s BCR may be artificially low. The attorneys at Kocian Law Group are prepared for such situations. In past cases, we have calculated favorable basic compensation rates for injured workers who have worked as little as one day. Do not leave it up to the insurance company to calculate your benefit rate, as that may have costly consequences. Kocian Law Group attorneys will calculate your basic compensation rate based on all available information to ensure you receive the maximum pay allowed by Connecticut law.
What happens to my basic compensation rate if I suffer a relapse?
The basic compensation rate can be recalculated if you suffer a relapse after recovering from a work injury. If you went back to work before the relapse, a recalculation may result in increased benefits. Insurance companies, however, will often stick with the original basic compensation rate, especially if it saves them money. Kocian Law Group attorneys will recalculate your basic compensation rate if you suffer a relapse from recovery and fight for any increase in benefits you are entitled to.
A proper recalculation of benefits after a relapse can result in thousands of dollars in pay to the benefit of some injured workers. Knowledge is power in this regard. Let the Kocian Law Group’s experience and knowledge pay for itself.
What other factors might change the basic compensation rate?
The basic compensation rate may also be changed by (1) the minimum or maximum compensation rate; (2) the date of the injury; and (3) two or more jobs, also known as “concurrent” employment.
Connecticut law sets a minimum amount for workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits cannot go below the required amount, even if a workers’ basic compensation rate calculation is lower than the minimum. Injured workers who are making a low wage or who are working part-time may benefit from the minimum compensation rate. This can make a big difference in an injured worker’s paycheck in a time of need.
An injured worker who has two or more jobs at the time of the injury may fall under Connecticut’s “concurrent employment” rule. Applying this rule can provide a necessary increase in the basic compensation rate. In many instances, a basic compensation rate is doubled by concurrent employment. Unfortunately, many injured workers do not know this fact, and are vastly underpaid by the insurance companies because no one spoke up.
Connecticut Attorneys Who Understand the Basic Compensation Rate
The basic compensation can be a complicated legal calculation in many cases. It often requires the injured worker to know all the rules to get the most pay – rules that are complex and confusing even when you are not already struggling to recover from an injury.
Kocian Law Group attorneys know the rules. Don’t leave your basic compensation rate up to someone else. Schedule a free consultation with the Kocian Law Group to discuss your basic compensation rate if you are injured. Our experience may make all the difference.