What Workers’ Comp Benefits are Available?
The workers’ compensation benefits you receive depend upon the nature of your injury and the extent to which it prevents you from working. Understanding the types of benefits and how they are determined is essential to planning your own finances and deciding when to settle your workers’ compensation claim.
Benefits available to injured workers fall into three distinct categories. However, not all types of benefits are available to all workers:
- Medical benefits — Medical benefits are available in most approved claims. It is essentially insurance coverage for any reasonable medical expenses you incur because of your injury. To receive these benefits, you must usually be treated by a doctor authorized by your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier.
- Temporary benefits — If you miss work for seven days or more, you may be entitled to receive up to two-thirds of your regular weekly wages. Likewise, if you return to work with restrictions that result in a 20 percent reduction of your wages, you may receive compensation for your partial wage loss. These types of benefits can continue for up to two years.
- Permanent benefits — If an authorized doctor determines that you reached maximum medical improvement and still have some permanent impairment, you may receive permanent disability benefits. These can be partial (you are able to work, but have some degree of impairment) or total (you remain completely unable to work).
Even if there is no dispute that you were injured and that your injury was work-related, establishing the extent of your injury within a reasonable degree of medical certainty can make a big difference in the benefits you ultimately receive. Depending on the type of injury, this can be a challenge that requires the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.