For injured workers, it's only natural for them to turn to their employers' workers' compensation insurance for help. In most cases, workers can expect several forms of help, but the degree of monetary compensation varies with the seriousness of the injury or occupational illness. Read for more information about what hurt workers may receive in benefits.
Medical Expenses Coverage
Workers are usually 100% covered for all medical expenses due to the injury. However, workers must use only certain doctors for their care, and they must also be referred to any specialists or when surgery and more is needed. Also commonly covered are physical therapy, medications, hard medical goods like walkers or crunches, and more.
Partial Salary Coverage
If the worker is unable to return to work, they may be ordered to stay home for some time. During this time, they are usually eligible for disability wages. The amount is never as much as the worker was paid before the injury, however. The amount varies but can be approximately 66.6% of their previous wage.
This form of payment is not income, is not taxed, and may not include any of the usual deductions usually seen with normal paychecks. It may be paid weekly, or it might be provided in a single large payment based on the worker's prognosis and predicted time off work. This form of benefit can continue until the doctor orders the worker back to work. That work can be part-time, light-duty or they might not be able to return to their same job.
A Workers' Comp Settlement
In some cases, workers can be offered a monetary settlement. The chance of a settlement depends on the nature of the injury. Some workers may be able to return to work but not at their previous position because of the injury. Other workers may never be able to return to that job but can be trained to perform other work. Finally, some workers are permanently disabled and can never work at any job again. The level of disability is determined by a special exam and a workers' comp ruling. Workers who disagree with the ruling have the right to an appeal.
The above summary of benefits should not be taken for granted because many workers experience issues from the beginning of the process and some find problems along the way. At any point, a hurt worker may need to turn to a workers' compensation lawyer for help. These lawyers understand workers' comp laws and can advise the worker, put forth appeals for unfair rulings, and help the worker cope with a large, faceless workers' comp insurer. When issues occur, speak to a workers compensation lawyer.