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Workers Compensation in Delaware

Jason Metz

Delaware requires all businesses to have workers comp for employees, with just a few exceptions.

Workers compensation insurance usually pays a portion of lost income and the medical bills for a worker who's injured while performing a job-related task. Covered work injuries can range from carpal tunnel to burns to broken bones.

Delaware workers compensation law details who can be exempt from coverage, who must be covered and the specific limits of workers compensation payments. Below are many of the specifics contained in the workers comp law in Delaware. The Delaware Department of Labor also has a page with helpful information for employers.

Who has to be covered by Delaware workers compensation?

Can any employees opt out of Delaware workers compensation with a waiver?

Yes - corporate officers and sole proprietors can.

Is self-insurance for workers comp allowed in Delaware?

Yes, for individual employers, groups of employers and political subdivisions. Political subdivisions in Delaware are typically the state or a city, county, special district, school district or public agency.

By self-insuring, a business assumes responsibility for paying their own workers comp claims. A self-insured company typically hires a claims service company to handle claims administration and other services.

Are there exclusions for:

Small employers? No.

Agricultural employers? Yes, agribusiness must provide coverage to workers.

Domestic employers? Yes, if the workers earns less than a certain amount of money. However, the exclusion does not apply to any person employed as a household worker in a private home or household who earns less than $750 in cash in any three-month period from a single private home or household or to any person employed as a casual worker in a private home or household who earns less than $750 in cash in any three-month period from a single private home or household.

Independent contractors? Yes.

Casual employees? No.

Volunteers? No.

Professional athletes? No.

Delaware workers compensation medical benefits

Is there a Delaware workers comp fee schedule?


Fee schedules define payments for surgery, radiology, hospital services, chiropractic care, ambulance service, prescription drugs and other medical services for an injured worker.

Are there limits on medical treatment?


Who makes the initial choice of treating physician?

The employee, from a list provided by the Workers Compensation Agency. The employee may choose their own health care provider that's not on the list if the employer pre-authorizes it.

Disability payments for workers compensation insurance in Delaware

Generally, workers comp pays an employee a portion of their income if they can't work due to a work-related injury. State laws define limits on the length of time and the amount of disability payments, based on both permanent and temporary disability.

How are temporary total disability (TTD) payments calculated?

66 2/3% of the employee's pre-injury weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $226.54

Weekly maximum: $679.63

Maximum length of TDD benefits: Unlimited.

How are permanent total disability (PTD) payments calculated?

66 ⅔% of the difference between the wages received by the injured employee before the injury and the earning power of the employee thereafter.

Weekly minimum: $226.54

Weekly maximum: $679.63

Are there cost of living increases for PTD payments? No.

Maximum length of PTD benefits: No limits.

How are permanent partial disability (PPD) payments calculated?

Number of weeks multiplied by the injured worker's average weekly wage fixed at the date of permanent impairment.

Weekly minimum: $226.54

Weekly maximum: $679.63

Fatality benefits under Delaware workers compensation law

Maximum burial benefit: $3,500

Dependency benefits, weekly minimum / maximum: $226.54/$679.63

When do children's dependency benefits end? At age 18; if a student, at age 25. If the child is disabled and was at least 50% dependent upon the deceased, compensation can extend beyond 18 years of age.

Other injuries covered by Delaware workers compensation

Mental stress with no physical injury? Yes.

Cumulative trauma (such as injuries caused by repeated exposure or repetitive motion)? Yes.

Occupational hearing loss? Yes.

Disfigurement? Yes.

Source: Workers Compensation Research Institute, May 2016 report