In many cases, the law protects you from undue financial strain caused by a workplace injury. Although specific laws vary by state, making the most of your workers’ compensation benefits requires that you be informed of your rights and document every step of your treatment, wherever you reside.
Workers’ Comp Coverage for Medical Treatment
Companies are required by law to maintain workers’ comp insurance for employees, and coverage for workplace injuries should extend to not only the treatment of these injuries, but any tests required for diagnosis. The underlying purpose of workers’ compensation laws is to insure that you are not left out in the cold when a workplace injury prevents you from supporting your family.
Coverage often extends beyond the initial treatment, and includes long-term therapies or medication. Additionally, if an unrelated condition inhibits treatment of your workplace injury, many states will require your workers’ comp benefits to cover this condition as well. A workers’ compensation attorney can help clarify these laws.
Workers’ Compensation for Loss of Wages
When your injury causes you to miss work for an extended period of time, you may be eligible for short-term disability benefits as part of your workers’ comp coverage. These types of workers’ compensation benefits often have ceilings based on the living wage in your state, so you may not be compensated for your entire weekly salary.
How Permanent Disability is handled by Workers’ Comp Insurance
In serious cases, a workplace injury may have long-term effects on your livelihood, placing you on permanent disability. This can be either partial or total disability. Partial disability means that you are still able to work, but not in your previous field or at your previous salary level. Your workers’ comp benefits for partial disability are determined on a case-by-case basis.
You may be placed on total disability status if your injury is so severe that it keeps you from maintaining employment permanently. These workers’ comp benefits pay much more than partial disability, but are subject to a cap in most states.
Those Not Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation insurance is purchased and maintained by employers, and therefore only available to those employed full-time. Contractors, the self-employed and in some cases part-time employees may not be eligible for these benefits. Additionally, federal workers are subject to government plans and coverage for workers’ comp, which is often handled differently from standard workers’ compensation insurance.