Your employer's workers' compensation policy covers all manner of illnesses and injuries as long as they are connected to work. When you cannot work, taking full advantage of all possible help can make all the difference between struggling financially and paying your bills. To make sure you don't miss out on any possible benefits, read below to get a better idea of what to expect from workers' comp and when to expect it.
First Up: Medical Benefits
You must seek medical treatment if you are injured because of work. If you don't think your injury is severe enough to rate a trip to the closest medical facility, then you may not need any benefits. Medical treatment sets up the framework through which all other benefits flow. In most cases, you won't have to pay any money at all for all medical treatment, be it surgery, medications, hospitalizations, or other treatments. Seek treatment at a convenient location right away, and then coordinate with the workers' comp insurer to find out who to see going forward. Some states let hurt workers choose their own doctor, and some have workers see a designated doctor.
Next Comes Disability Wages
In many cases, you must miss work after an injury or illness and that is where your disability wages come in. Unfortunately, disability wages won't replace your salary but it will pay you approximately 66.6% of it. In most cases, your workers' comp doctors determine when you will return to work, and your disability wages are paid weekly until that happens. Though you might be used to having hundreds of dollars deducted from your usual work wages, that won't happen with disability wages. No taxes, pension, retirement fund, health premiums, or other deductions are removed before you receive the money. That does help to make up for the lowered income.
Finally, For Some, a Settlement
Not all hurt workers reach this stage of the process. However, if your injury was serious or resulted in a permanent issue, you may be offered a lump-sum settlement from the insurer. If your doctor clears you to return to your job, you may agree and do so. Anytime your medical condition reduces your ability to work at your most recent job, you may be entitled to be paid. When the subject of a settlement arises, you should speak to a workers' comp lawyer. Lawyers know what you deserve based on the level of your disability, your age, and other factors.
At any phase of benefits, you could encounter problems. Any time you disagree with a finding or workers' comp decision, consider seeking help from a workers' compensation attorney so that you can be paid what you deserve.