How to Calculate a Workers’ Compensation Settlement

When you are hurt on the job, you will likely need money quickly to cover your expenses and lost time from work. You may also be wondering how much you can get in worker’s compensation and how the amount is calculated. Worker’s compensation was created to assist workers who can no longer work due to an injury or disease they acquired on the job. 

While this seems straightforward, there are some tricky elements to getting the right amount that you are owed. Understanding how workers’ comp is calculated and how much you may receive could help you get your money faster.  

How a Lump Sum Settlement Works 

In an injury case, you may be offered a one-time lump sum settlement. This amount is expected to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and injury-related costs. 

If you are interested in a settlement, it is important to understand that this is all the money you will receive for a personal injury claim and any ongoing expenses as well.

A lump sum settlement is different from settlements paid out over time and will cover you until you are cleared to return to work. 

How Worker’s Compensation Settlements are Calculated 

Worker’s compensation settlements are calculated based on four factors. First, the amount of medical expenses is taken into account. Medical expenses include the ambulance ride to the hospital, medical bills, and prescriptions. This total may also include mobility aids that you may need to aid in your recovery. 

Secondly, your future medical needs are factored in. Will you need ongoing physical therapy? A lifetime of medication? Follow-up surgeries?  

Thirdly, your lost wages are added to the equation. The injury caused you to miss work, and in turn, miss out on wages. You will receive compensation for this lost time from work. 

Finally, you may receive a payment for a specific loss. Did you lose an eye and need a prosthetic? Did you lose the use of one of your hands? Will you require a wheelchair for life? All these costs determine how much you may receive as part of your worker’s compensation claim.  

How Long Does it Take to Get a Settlement 

Martindale-Nolo is a legal research agency that gathers data on legal topics across the spectrum. They estimate that it takes the average personal injury claim nearly 16 months to work its way through the system, from start to payout. 

This doesn’t mean that you will have to wait the entire 16 months to receive your benefits. Worker’s compensation boards are notoriously overloaded, but while it may take time, there are ways to speed up the process and get money into your hands faster. An attorney can get insight into this and help you get the benefits quickly.  

Total Disability vs. Partial Disability 

Some injuries are so severe that you may not be able to return to work at all until you recover. For example, if you had been working as a forklift operator in a warehouse, you won’t be able to work if both of your hands are broken. This is considered a total disability, and there is a compensation calculator that will determine how much you will get for your injuries. 

But if you have injuries that allow you to do some light work at a rate of less than you were paid before, you may be able to receive a partial disability payment. 


If you have been injured on the job, you will likely need guidance to help you to get the best possible settlement to compensate for your injuries. The amount of cash you are due after a work-related injury largely depends on the type of injuries, the time off from work, out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost wages, and more. In short, it depends on the very specific circumstances of your case (Check out these positive case results to form an opinion first.)