What do overexertion, falling objects, and slippery floors have in common? They’re all frequent causes of workplace injuries. For those hurt on the job, these injuries mean losing income, losing good health, and potentially losing the ability to work for a while. No one should have to lose so much because of workplace negligence, which is why workers’ compensation exists.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workers’ compensation programs are meant to “protect the interests of workers who are injured or become ill on the job, their families and their employers by making timely, appropriate, and accurate decisions on claims, providing prompt payment of benefits and helping injured workers return to gainful work as early as is feasible.” Here are three things you should know about workers’ compensation now, in case you or a loved one ever need it.
When to File
When injured on the job, you need to report the injury to your supervisor right away. Waiting too long to report it complicates the compensation process. In fact, you may not receive any compensation if you wait over a month.
Who Can Treat Your Injuries
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier covers your medical treatment, including hospital or doctor bills, prescriptions, and therapy. Your employer is responsible for explaining which doctors are covered under his insurance. He may have a panel of six doctors that you can choose from or a contract with a Workers’ Compensation Managed Care Organization that helps you find an approved doctor. These options are meant to help you, so if you cannot use any of the eligible doctors or do not wish to, there are legal exceptions available to you. (Visit the State Board of Workers’ Compensation to learn more about these.) Injuries that happened on or after July 1, 2013, are eligible for up to 400 weeks’ worth of paid treatment, with the 400 weeks beginning on the date of the accident. Catastrophic injuries may receive lifetime benefits.
What Income Benefits You’re Eligible For
If your injury prevents you from working for more than 7 days after your accident, you can receive weekly income benefits. These benefits consist of two-thirds of your average weekly wage (and cannot exceed $575 each week for accidents that happened on or after July 1, 2016). You can receive these benefits for as long as you’re unable to work for up to 400 weeks (for injuries happening on or after July 1, 1992). Once you return to work, your benefits may be reduced or ended. Visit the State Board of Workers’ Compensation to learn about benefits for injuries causing permanent disabilities, job prevention, and more.
As you can tell, worker’s compensation cases involve many specific details, and the benefits vary by case. But the program exists for one purpose—to help those injured on the job. In order to receive all the benefits your injury entitles you to, you may need to hire a lawyer. A lawyer can help you with filling out forms, keeping track of important dates, avoiding workers’ compensation pitfalls, and positioning your claim for maximum impact.
We at Castan & Lecca offer valuable workers’ compensation services. Our many years of experience in this field allow us to work quickly and efficiently to help you receive your just compensation. Contact us to learn about the many ways we can help you.