If an injury in the course of work causes the injured worker to be physically unable to earn the wages he or she was earning before the injury, New Hampshire workers’ compensation law provides that an injured worker is to be paid weekly disability benefits. If the injured worker’s disability is “total,” which is to say that the worker cannot perform any job, the weekly payments are 60% of the gross average weekly wage the worker was earning in the 26 to 52 weeks before the injury. If the disability is “partial” and the worker can work, but cannot earn as much because of the injury, the weekly payments are 60% of the difference between the pre-injury average weekly wage and what he or she now is able to earn. There is no maximum number of weeks that an injured worker can receive total disability benefits. An injured worker on partial disability is limited to 5 years, including any prior period of total disability.
If there is a dispute on something in this regard, such as whether the injury at issue was from work activity or whether the worker is totally or partially disabled, the New Hampshire Department of Labor will, upon request, hold a hearing at its offices in Concord. They handle the litigation of workers’ compensation cases, not the court system. The medical evidence and witness testimony is presented to a hearings officer, and a decision is made. A hearings officer’s decision can be appealed to a three member panel for a repeat hearing.
The successful management of an injured worker’s claim doesn’t just happen. It is in the workers’ compensation insurance company’s business interest to minimize the cost of a claim. That means administering the claim in a manner to minimize the benefits to the injured worker. Having the guidance of an attorney who knows the law, the process and “the ropes” enables the injured worker to receive the benefits to which he or she is entitled.
If you are injured at work and you want to protect yourself, call (603) 882-5157 today to speak at no cost to one of the workers’ compensation lawyers at Winer and Bennett, LLP.