How does Workers’ Compensation work?
If you’ve been injured on the job, you probably have a lot of questions. You’ve probably been told that you’re entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits but are unsure as to how it works. This video will explain it a little better so that you know your rights.
Workers’ compensation can be very complicated. Unlike disability, FMLA, and unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation is a program that covers injuries on the job.
Instead of you carrying this insurance policy, it is your job that carries it. If you end up getting hurt their insurance pays the benefits directly to you.
How does it work?
After you’ve been injured it is vital that you report the enjory to your employer within 30 days. Make sure within 30 days you’ve given them the date, how/what happened, and a doctor's determination that you cannot return to work.
Don’t try to be a hero and pop some aspirin to take the pain away. If you do, and your injury ends up being much more serious, you’ll be out of luck if the 30 days is up. You won’t be able to make a claim.
If you need immediate care, request authorization from your employer to go to the ER. Conversely, if your injury is not emergent, check with your employer about where you should go to be seen to assess the injury.
Your care will be handled by an ‘authorized treating doctor’. S/he will be in charge of monitoring your recovery. If this doctor says you cannot return to work, listen to them. If you go against their medical advice you may be waiving your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
In many cases your doctor will approve you back to work with some modifications. They will give you a DWC-25 form that lists your limitations. Send copies to your employer, lawyer, and keep one for yourself. Keep in mind that if your employer can accommodate the limitations then you have to take the job they give you. If not, you’re risking losing your benefits.
It’s important to retain a workers’ compensation lawyer even if your case seems simple. A lawyer will make sure you understand all of the information being presented to you.
How much money do you get? It’s calculated based on your average weekly wage (AWW). They take a look at the last 13 weeks (prior to your injury) and then average it by dividing it by 13. They also calculate it based on whether your injury is temporary, permanent, a partial injury, or a total injury. For example, if your injury is permanent and total, you’ll receive benefits of 66.66% of you AWW until you’re 75 years old.
What does workers’ compensation cover? It covers lost wages and so much more. Your authorized treating doctor will send all of your medical bills to the workers' compensation insurance company. Your prescriptions, equipment, and surgeries are also covered if needed.
If for some reason your injury would cut you out of line for your current job, the insurance also pays for ‘vocational rehab’ which helps to train you for a new career.
In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one becomes deceased due to a work related injury, all of the death related expenses (funeral etc) are covered. Your survivors also receive death benefits.
It all boils down to, ‘Do I need a lawyer?’ and the answer is yes. You do. In workers’ compensation cases there’s nobody who is advocating for you, the injured party. Think of it this way, your employer most certainly has retained legal advice, and you should too. A lawyer is invaluable because we focus on you, not the employer.
Call us today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.
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