How Workers Compensation Benefits can vary by State

by Steve Fields | April 30th, 2015

Recently, NPR partnered with ProPublica, an investigative journalism organization, for a series which evaluated the workers’ compensation system. As part of this series, the article titled As Workers’ Comp Varies From State To State, Workers Pay The Price was published evaluating the disparity of workers’ compensation benefits between states. This eye-opening dichotomy between Jeremy Lewis and Josh Potter highlighted the complex and alarming discrepancy of workers’ compensation systems in various states.

Before their work injuries, Jeremy Lewis and Josh Potter shared very similar lives demographically. Both men were in the mid to late twenties, were married, had two children who were around the same age, and even bore the names of their children tattooed on their bodies. Both sustained an amputation work injury. Both lost a portion of his left arm.

Workers Compensation Benefits Vary Immensely By State

After their work injuries, the similarities end. Jeremy Lewis lives and works in Alabama; Josh Potter lives and work in Georgia. This seemingly minor detail of where the men live and work – a difference of approximately 75 miles – proves to be a crucial factor in the benefits they are awarded. And the path their lives will take as they struggle to recover from the work injury that has not only taken away a part of their limb, but also a part of their livelihood.

Workers’ compensation benefits are often statutorily established and vary immensely, depending on the jurisdiction in which you are injured. As Jeremy Lewis and Josh Potter learned, that distance of 75 miles can mean the difference between $45,000 and $740,000. This represents the estimated benefits Jeremy and Josh recovered for the loss of their arm, as determined by the workers compensation benefits schedule in their respective state.

Shortly after this article was published, Alabama lawmakers proposed a bill which seeks to increase the maximum compensation awarded to employees for work-related amputations. At the present time, this bill awaits further deliberation on the Senate floor.

How Location Changes Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The story above focuses on the disparity between Alabama and Georgia work comp systems. However, this disparity occurs nationwide. Because each state is able to create statutory guidelines for workers compensation benefits to employees within their jurisdiction, location matters. It matters in very tangible ways that directly affect your claim. These factors include what kind of medical treatment you are entitled to, how much wage loss benefits you will receive, and for how long you will receive these wage loss benefits.

Location also matters in more abstract terms: how long you have to file a claim for workers compensation benefits, what you must do to inform your employer of an injury, what you must do in order to establish a claim for work comp benefits, and your rights in choosing a treating doctor. Your rights to workers’ comp benefits can vary depending on which state the injury occurred in.

Getting Answers to Your Minnesota Workers Compensation Questions

Oftentimes, a quick internet search will provide a very broad answer to the substantive questions regarding your injury and the workers comp claim filing process. This generic information may not be applicable to your claim or even the state in which you were injured.

The MN workers comp attorneys and staff at Fields Law Firm are experienced in the intricacies of the work comp system in Minnesota. We would be happy to answer any question you may have regarding your claim and provide you with an answer as to the benefits you are entitled to under Minnesota workers’ compensation laws.

Call us today at 1-888-343-5375 for a free, confidential case review. You’re under no obligation to hire our law firm, and if you do decide to hire us, you never pay anything unless we are successful in recovering workers compensation benefits for you. Let us help you get the benefits you deserve.