According to the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, there were 33,000 job-related injuries reported in 2018, and 13,900 of those injuries resulted in work restrictions or days away from work, with 49 of those injuries resulting in a fatality – an increase of 14% in comparison to previous years. Our workers’ comp attorneys have assisted countless injured workers file for workers’ compensation in Salt Lake City – here are some of the most common questions they receive about the process of filing a claim.
How Does Workers’ Comp Work in Utah?
The state of Utah requires every employer to provide workers’ compensation insurance, with very few exceptions. If a business has one or more employees, coverage is mandatory. Sole proprietors, LLCs, and partnerships without employees are exempt from this requirement. Likewise, casual or domestic employees and some real estate and insurance brokers may also be exempt from carrying workers’ compensation insurance, but may still choose to do so.
In Utah, workers’ compensation insurance is meant to cover medical expenses and a portion of an injured or sick employee’s wage, with the goal of enabling the worker to recover and return to work. Compensation through workers’ comp is given after a job-related injury or sickness regardless of fault — even if the employee was partially at fault for the incident. This also means that, in most cases, employees receiving workers’ compensation payments may not be able to seek additional compensation through a civil suit, according to Utah laws.
What Percentage Will Workers’ Comp Pay in Utah?
In addition to providing financial coverage for medical expenses arising from the treatment and recovery of a job-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation also provides a percentage of an employee’s weekly wages to cover basic living expenses while the employee is unable to work. In Utah, an injured worker can expect to receive 66 ⅔% of their normal wages, with a weekly minimum payment of $45 and a maximum not to exceed 100% of the average weekly wage for Utah for the year when the injury occurred.
Additional compensation may be available for workers with a dependent spouse and children, at the rate of 20 dollars for a dependent spouse and an extra 20 dollars for every dependent child under the age of 18, for a maximum of four children. In case of permanent partial disability, the state caps maximum payments at $611.00 per week as of 2019. Those with permanent total disability are entitled to receiving lifetime payments of at least $45 a week, not to exceed 85% of the state weekly average wages nor the employee’s weekly average wages at the time of the injury. Those payments will be reduced to 36% of the state’s current average weekly wage after the initial 312 weeks following the injury.
How Long Can I Be on Workers’ Comp?
Workers with a temporary total disability can receive payments until their doctor finds they have reached maximum medical improvement, not to exceed a maximum of 312 weeks following the injury. Payments will stop as soon as you are cleared to return to work without any restrictions such as light duty. If you are able to return to work but need to be placed on light duty or require special accommodations, you may be eligible to continue receiving temporary partial disability benefits for a maximum of 312 weeks.
Workers with a permanent disability resulting from their work-related injuries may receive compensation depending on the classification and severity of their disability, and whether it completely prevents them from returning to work or not. Those who are found to have a permanent total disability and are unable to work at their original position or anywhere else may continue to receive payments for as long as they are disabled. Those with a permanent partial disability who can return to their jobs with restrictions may receive payment for up to 218 weeks for injuries listed in a state schedule, or 312 weeks for unscheduled injuries. The severity of the injuries will determine the length of time a worker can receive permanent partial disability payments.
What Are The Steps for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
If you have been injured on the job, the first step you need to take after seeking medical care for life-threatening injuries (if applicable) is to report the injury to your employer. Injured workers are required to report the incident to their employers within 180 days. The employer will then be required to fill out a form called First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease and send it to their insurance carrier within seven days.
The employee will then see a medical provider designated by the employer. The doctor will then submit Form 123 to the Industrial Accidents Division and will send a copy to the insurance carrier, employer, and employee. The insurance carrier will then conduct their own investigation and decide if they will accept or deny the claim. For denied claims, workers have the right to a hearing with the Utah Labor Commission Adjudication Division.
If you need help or have questions about filing a workers’ compensation claim in Salt Lake City, or have had your claim denied, 801-INJURED is here to help. Contact us for a no-obligation case evaluation today.