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What's the Average Workers' Comp Chest Injury Settlement in 2024?

Written by
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.
Victoria Muñoz
Lead Attorney
April 30, 2024  ·  4 min read
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There were 20,010 work-related chest injuries in 2022 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. One out of five injured workers also required a month or longer out of work while they recovered.1 If you injured your chest at work, including internal injuries and illness, you could qualify for workers’ compensation through your employer. Benefits include payments to replace lost wages and to cover your medical bills. Certain situations can also qualify for a settlement, which is worth over $20,000 on average.


The average workers' comp settlement for a chest injury

The average workers’ compensation settlement for a chest injury is $20,386, according to data from the National Safety Council (NSC). Included in that payment is $10,519 for medical expenses and another $9,867 as an indemnity payment (lost wage replacement).2 While this settlement is only a national average, it does offer a guide for how much you could expect.


Why your settlement could be worth more

A good general rule is that the more work time you miss while recovering and the more medical care you need, the higher your potential settlement is.

Older individuals often negotiate higher payouts because they tend to miss more work time after an injury. Any condition that affects multiple body parts is also likely to require more time out of work. For example, an injury that affects your neck, upper back, or abdomen could net you a much higher settlement. Medical treatments that require time out of work will also have an effect. For that reason, surgery often leads to higher payouts.

You deserve a fair workers' comp settlement. Atticus can help.

How chest injuries can qualify for workers’ comp

As an employee, you can qualify for workers' comp as long as the injury happened at work or directly resulted from doing your job duties, you missed work for multiple days because of it, and you reported it quickly. You may only have a few days to report the injury, and failing to do so will make you ineligible for benefits.

Otherwise, just about any chest injury can qualify. An accident, like slipping and falling, can get you benefits even if it was your fault. Conditions that develop over time from doing repetitive motions and aggravation of pre-existing injuries can qualify too.

Common examples of qualifying chest injuries include cuts, burns, fractures, muscle strains, sprains, broken ribs, pneumothorax (a collapsed lung), damage to organs, plus any symptoms resulting from those conditions. Injuries caused by other people, like gunshot wounds, will also get you benefits.

Learn more about eligible workers' comp injuries.


When will workers’ comp offer a settlement?

Not all workers’ comp claims lead to a settlement. In all cases, the insurance company will offer regular workers' comp benefits — weekly wage replacement checks and free medical care. If you recover, your claim will end and you will return to work without a lump-sum payout.

If your condition keeps you out of work for an extended period, you're more likely to get a settlement offer around the time of maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is when you've recovered as much as possible through medical care but haven't fully returned to your pre-injury condition or abilities. You do have the option of long-term workers' comp payments (also known as permanent disability) but insurers usually look to close your case through a settlement agreement instead of continuing to pay for your lost wages and treatment.

Further reading: When Workers’ Comp Could Offer a Settlement


What to do if you get a settlement offer

There are three ways you can respond to a settlement offer:

  1. Accept the settlement as offered.

  2. Reject the offer to continue benefits.

  3. Negotiate a better settlement.

Accepting the initial offer isn't the best option for most people. The insurer will always be looking after its own profits, usually at the expense of a fair settlement payment.

Any time you get an offer, we recommend contacting a workers' comp attorney. A local attorney will help you understand the best time to settle and then handle negotiations for you. Otherwise, you'll have to estimate current and future lost wages, current and future medical expenses, and various smaller costs that could pop up in the future because of your injury. Experienced attorneys have handled these calculations hundreds of times and will know how to get you a fair deal from insurance.

Related: Situations When You Should Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney


How much workers’ comp pays if you don’t settle

Workers’ comp benefits typically include weekly payments worth up to two-thirds of your average wages. Known as temporary disability benefits, you'll receive these when your claim is first approved. The workers' comp insurance will also pay for all medical expenses connected to your injury.

See how much workers’ comp pays in your state.


Do you actually need a workers’ comp attorney?

Hiring an attorney isn't necessary to file a claim or receive your workers' comp benefits. There are many points when an attorney can help, though. They can help you secure all the necessary medical care, often from more independent doctors and even if insurance initially denies treatment. An attorney will handle communication with the claims adjuster, complete all paperwork, file necessary appeals, represent you at court hearings, and negotiate a fair settlement.

To illustrate how much an attorney can help, the average settlement with an Atticus attorney is double what people get if they handle negotiations on their own. Getting started is also free. Atticus offers free consultations, doesn't charge anything upfront, and you only pay the lawyer's fee after they get you a settlement.

Learn more and get answers to your workers' comp questions by completing our 3-minute intake quiz or calling us at the phone number below.

Get workers' comp help today.

Frequently asked questions about workers’ comp chest injuries

Who qualifies for workers’ comp?

Most full-time and part-time workers can qualify for workers’ comp, but independent contractors, consultants, and freelancers don’t usually qualify.

Can a chest injury qualify for workers’ comp?

Yes, a chest injury can qualify for workers’ compensation as long as it leaves you unable to work for at least a few days and you quickly reported it to your employer. Find the reporting deadline for your state.

How much will a settlement be for my chest injury?

The average workers’ comp settlement for a chest injury is over $20,000 nationally, but your exact payout depends on your situation. If you want to maximize your settlement, contact a workers’ comp attorney. Settlements are twice as high with Atticus attorneys, on average.

Should I accept a workers’ comp settlement?

It depends on your personal situation. Negotiating is best in many cases, but we recommend getting a lawyer’s opinion before you make any decision. They can help you negotiate enough to cover your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and other bills while you’re out of work.

Can surgery increase a chest injury settlement?

Getting more medical care generally leads to higher value workers' comp claims. In particular, surgery can lead to a higher settlement if it requires a long recovery, it doesn’t improve your symptoms, or it results in complications. Get more information about how surgery affects workers' comp settlements.

Will I pay tax on my workers’ comp settlement?

No. Workers’ compensation settlements aren’t taxable, with only very rare exceptions.

What if I can’t return to work after my chest injury?

You may qualify for permanent workers' comp benefits or other long-term benefits through SSDI. Learn more about your options if you can’t return to work after an injury or illness.

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Related resources:

How Much a Workers' Comp Lawyer Costs

A hand draw portrait of a smiling, helpful lawyer.
By Victoria Muñoz

5 Common Questions About Workers' Comp Lawyers

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By Victoria Muñoz

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How long ago did you get an injury or illness at work?

References

  1. 1.
    Bureau of Labor Statistics, Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities,” U.S. Department of Labor, accessed January 26, 2024, https://www.bls.gov/iif/.
  2. 2.
    Workers’ Compensation Costs,” National Safety Council, accessed April 30, 2024, https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/costs/workers-compensation-costs/.
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.

Victoria Muñoz

Lead Attorney

Victoria Muñoz is an attorney on Atticus’s Workers' Compensation team. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of Stanford Law School, and has counseled hundreds of people seeking workers' compensation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her pup.
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