Workers hurt because of a job may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. The employer is responsible for obtaining insurance for the worker at no cost to them. Coverage begins the day the worker begins and covers them for accidents and occupational illnesses related to work. The benefits are valuable, and it pays to do the right thing so that hurt workers can qualify. Read on for a summary of what to expect in terms of benefits.
Medical Care – All hurt workers with approved claims are entitled to medical care at no charge. No co-pays or deductibles are necessary either. If the medical treatment is deemed necessary and has been ordered by a medical doctor (or the workers' compensation doctor) then it's covered. From the moment of the injury, till the doctor releases you from medical care and sends you back to work, everything from hospital stays and surgery to medication and wheelchairs is covered. Be sure you let the medical staff know that your medical treatment is a result of a work situation and that it is covered under workers' compensation to avoid being accidentally billed.
Disability Pay – If your injury or illness is deemed severe enough, you might be ordered to remain at home for a time. While you are not working, you will be paid disability pay from the workers' compensation insurer. The way you are paid varies. Some workers are paid each week by a check, and some may be paid in advance for several weeks at a time by direct deposit. Your disability payments are not taxed nor are they taxable as income. No deductions are removed from the payments. The amount you are paid varies too. However, don't expect to be paid as much as you were making when you were working. The disability checks continue until the doctor orders you back to work or you are deemed to have a permanent injury.
Settlements – If you are found to have a permanent injury or illness due to work, you may be eligible for a settlement from the workers' compensation insurer. Settlement amounts are based on your previous salary, the percentage you are disabled, your age, your education level, and other factors. Settlements are usually offered in either a lump-sum manner or with a structured payment plan.
If you have been offered a settlement, know that the amount you receive is negotiable. Don't take the initial offer. Consult with a workers' compensation lawyer and they will help you determine how much you are owed. Then, allow your lawyer to negotiate your settlement with the workers' compensation insurer. That way, you will receive an adequate amount of money to carry you to retirement age. Speak with a workers' compensation lawyer to find out more.