Workers’ compensation is a system that was set up to provide a safety net for workers who are injured while on the job. So the question becomes, if I get injured at work do I get paid? In most states, someone who sustains an injury while at work is entitled to compensation for their injuries, medical bills and sometimes lost wages or long-term disability benefits. What are the types of benefits that workers’ compensation victims can claim?

Medical care

If you are injured while on the job, you have the right to receive reasonable care from a medical professional for your injuries. If it is necessary to seek medical attention to lessen the impact of the injury or to ensure that no further injuries result, then you are entitled to have your medical bills paid and prescriptions filled.

You can even have your transportation costs paid, including mileage to a hospital or medical care facility. This varies depending on the workers’ compensation plan, and a worker might have to use a company or specific doctor, but that is usually only for the first 30 days after the incident. After that time, a patient can typically choose their own doctor after making a request in writing.

Temporary disability

If an injury happens at work that requires a worker to take time off from their employment, they might be entitled to temporary disability payments. Temporary disability payments are meant to make up for any lost wages. The amount that a worker is entitled to has both a minimum and a maximum amount that can be paid out. Typically, it is about two-thirds of what a worker makes in their gross pay, and it is paid every two weeks. A doctor must first verify that a worker is unable to return to work or that they cannot function in their normal work capacity. You shouldn’t have to wait more than a week for your first check, which helps ensure that you aren’t left without the money to pay your bills.

Permanent disability

A permanent disability is something that a person will have forever and will prevent them from working in their previous capacity. A worker who sustains a permanent disability is entitled to a monetary award. As they are unable to function in the same workforce or capacity, the amount a person is entitled to relies heavily on how greatly they are limited by their injury or illness, and what their new capacity for activity is. There are many factors that are taken into account when determining the monetary award for a permanent disability. Things like the age of the worker and their occupation when they were injured are all used to determine how much cash they are entitled to. The monetary compensation usually includes the addition of loss of future wages.

Vocational rehabilitation

There are times when even if a person cannot return to work in the same capacity as they did before they were injured, they are capable of being retrained for another occupation. Workers’ compensation will usually pay for a worker to be trained for a new vocation. While they are being retrained, they are often entitled to partial payment of loss of wages and temporary disability payments. The goal of vocational rehabilitation is to allow someone who can’t perform in the capacity they did before the incident to do other comparable and meaningful work.

Wage loss benefits

Within most states, there is a clause that allows for two different types of wage loss benefits for workers’ compensation. You can either receive temporary partial payments or temporary total benefits. If you are temporarily disabled, you are entitled to still earn wages outside of the temporary disability payments you are receiving. The benefits are payable according to a percentage of pre-and post-illness or injury earnings.

Temporary total disability benefits are also paid to workers, but the difference is that while they are receiving the benefits, they are not allowed to earn any other wages. The benefits are payable according to the percentage of what the worker was earning pre-injury. The key to understanding wage loss benefits is to know what is expected of you and what is prohibited. If you earn money while you are supposed to be on total disability, that can result in forfeiture.

Workers’ compensation varies across states and organizations. If you want to ensure that you are getting all that you are entitled to, it is imperative that you understand the complexities of what your responsibilities are and the responsibility of your employer, and don’t cross the line or make a mistake that could jeopardize what is rightfully yours.

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