Workers compensation can be a lifesaver if your paycheck is the only thing between you and living on the streets. Unfortunately, the events surrounding a workers comp agreement may not be cut and dry. With many papers to sign and agreements that may be proposed, you'll want to make sure that you're not signing away your rights. Here are a few things to consider before signing anything, just to make sure you're getting the compensation you deserve.
What Does Workers Compensation Cover?
Workers compensation is designed to cover the medical bills related to your workplace injury, as well as a percentage of your normal pay. The percentage varies by state, with many states using the 66 2/3 percent figure. Your state may be different, but Kentucky's pay section can give a general idea of how the system works.
The payment is intended to be temporary, just so you can recover and get back to work. Any kind of long-term disability or permanent disability is handled on a case-by-case basis, and this is where you need to be careful.
Your employer should be paying a workers comp insurance provider, who in turn covers your costs for you. That's who you're actually signing paperwork with, but you should protect yourself in case any kind of fault-avoiding language is in their contract. This doesn't mean all insurance firms are out to escape their obligations, but if you're not a lawyer and you're signing a lot of paperwork while recovering from an injury, it's too easy to slip in a few extra pages and signatures.
If you've already made the mistake and discovered a signature that leaves you on the hook for future costs, it's not permanent. You may have a bit of lengthy legal arguing to make, which is why it's best to consult an attorney beforehand, but the paperwork can be thrown out if it's found to be predatory. Save yourself the time and contact an attorney first.
Personal Injury Claims And Other Compensation
Just because you're getting money from workers comp doesn't mean it's the only place that owes you. Workers comp is usually temporary, but when it isn't, the payout may not be in your best interests.
How were you injured? Was it an equipment failure? Did safety equipment fail? Were safety regulations ignored by you, another worker, or the company? Was it a perfect accident with no fault? All of these situations could point to another party, such as an equipment vendor, another company, your employer, or an individual.
You may want to take a separate legal challenge to one of these parties while you recover. You need to rest and allow your body to recover safely, but the research and majority of the legwork can be done with an attorney. Contact a workers comp services firm to talk with a workers comp attorney, and figure out what else you may be owed.