Workers’ compensation benefits exist to help employees who are injured while doing their jobs. If you are harmed in a workplace accident, there are four types of workers’ compensation benefits you could be owed: medical coverage, wage benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits if your family member died from their injuries.
Medical Coverage Workers’ Compensation Provides
Medical coverage includes the costs of all necessary treatments related to your workplace injury or disability. Generally, these claims are not limited to a specific dollar amount, and your workers’ compensation should also cover all deductibles and copays.
Medical coverage may include compensation for medications, hospitalizations, nursing care, medical equipment, like wheelchairs or walkers, and other treatments. When determining how much medical coverage to seek, you should take into account any future or long-term care you may need, such as physical therapy. If your treatment requires you to travel, you may need to consider these expenses, as well.
You can receive compensation for any injuries that occur while you are on the clock, performing your job duties. You cannot be compensated for injuries that happen outside of the workplace. For example, if you are injured while driving a piece of heavy machinery at work, your injuries would qualify for workers’ compensation. If you are hurt while driving to or from work, they do not. The Insurance Information Institute (III) states that injures caused by natural disasters, acts of violence, or terrorism are also covered if they happen while you are at work.
How Your Wages Are Compensated
You can receive benefits to cover a percentage of your wages. These are known as disability benefits, and they are awarded if your injuries have left you unable to work either permanently or temporarily. What you are awarded, and for how long, will be based on the severity of your injuries, how they affect your ability to return to your job, and the workers’ compensation laws in your state.
Vocational rehabilitation is designed to help people who have been injured or disabled return to work. According to the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), vocational rehabilitation may include job training, career counseling, and assistance in finding new employment. If you cannot return to your previous employment because of your injuries, you can include vocational rehabilitation benefits in your workers’ compensation claim.
What Death Benefits Includes
If your family member died from injuries suffered in the workplace, workers’ compensation provides death benefits. These benefits are paid to the employee’s spouse, children, or dependents. Death benefits usually include a sum to compensate the worker’s family for their loss, as well as coverage for funeral and burial expenses.
Pain and Suffering
The four types of workers’ compensation benefits do not include awards for pain and suffering. To seek these damages, you will need to file a civil lawsuit against a third party. You cannot sue your employer, but you may be able to file suit against a property owner, equipment manufacturer, or another contractor if their negligence caused your injuries.
Working with an Attorney
Fighting for workers’ compensation can sometimes be a long and complicated process. Your claims could be denied for a number of reasons, and a lawyer can assist you when this happens.
Why Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Denied
There are many reasons your claims could be denied or underpaid. Your employer could try to argue that your accident did not happen at work, especially if there were no other witnesses. Your employer may try to insist that your injuries are due to a prior health condition. Timing could be another reason for denial. Your claims could be rejected if they were not filed immediately after your accident, or you did not file claims until after you left or were terminated from your job.
What an Attorney Can Do
If you choose to work with an attorney, they can engage in a negotiation process with the insurer. If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer could help you sue the insurance provider. If your claims are denied, a lawyer can represent you during a workers’ compensation appeal.
A lawyer will keep you updated on every step of the claims process. There can be a lot of work that goes into filing paperwork, gathering evidence, and negotiating. This can be a huge burden, especially if you are recovering from serious injuries. Working with a lawyer can help remove some of the stress and also may result in a better outcome for your claims.
Let Us Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claims
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, we want to help victims seek justice. We can take your case on a contingency basis, so you pay nothing out of pocket and nothing upfront. We only get paid if we win compensation for you. Call our offices at (800) 603-4224 to take advantage of a free consultation.