Getting injured while at work can be very stressful. Aside from having to deal with the pain associated with the injury, you also must think about your recovery time, and how you are going to manage your recovery while not being able to work. Fortunately, every business is required to provide workers’ compensation benefits when their employees are injured on the job. But what exactly do these benefits cover, and just how much can you expect to receive to compensate you for your injury and what is the difference between workers’ compensation and disability insurance?
What Expenses does Workers Comp Cover?
• Medical Care
When you suffer a workplace injury, your employer is required to cover the cost of your medical care. Examples of medical care covered by workers’ comp include doctor visits, treatments, medical tests, medicines, and equipment. You can either predesignate your own doctor to oversee your recovery or go through your employer’s insurance network to receive your medical care.
• Temporary disability benefits
These payments are designed to compensate you for any lost wages you incur while recovering from your injury. You are eligible to receive temporary disability benefits if your doctor confirms your injury prevents you from doing all or part of your regular duties at work. They are calculated based off your normal salary and the payments will last until your doctor has cleared you to return to work.
• Permanent Disability Benefits
When your injury leaves you with a long term or permanent impediment you are entitled to permanent disability benefits. These payments are designed to compensate injured workers for their future lost earning capacity. Examples of workplace injuries that commonly lead to permanent disability benefits include paralysis and amputation.
There are two types of permanent disability benefits, the first, called permanent total disability benefits, are paid out when the injury prevents a worker from ever returning to the workforce. These payments are typically two-thirds of the workers normal salary awarded weekly for life. The second type of benefit, called permanent partial disability benefits, are awarded to workers who suffer a long-term injury, but are expected to return to the workforce in the future. These payments are also two-thirds of the workers normal salary but are set to end at a predetermined time.
• Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
These benefits are awarded in the form of a voucher meant to cover the expense of retraining a skill after suffering a workplace injury. This voucher is non-transferable and can only be used at state approved schools. You are eligible for supplemental job displacement benefits if you are also eligible for permanent disability benefits, your employer doesn’t offer you work, and you don’t return to work for your employer.
• Death Benefits
When an employee dies from a workplace injury or illness, their family members may be entitled to death benefits. The amount of money paid out in this scenario depends on the relationship each family member had with the deceased and how much support they received from the deceased before their passing, whether they were a total dependent or a partial dependent.
Workers Comp Settlements
Rather than going through the process of applying for the benefits listed above, workers that were injured on the job may also attempt to reach a settlement with their employer. In many cases workers comp settlements can be mutually beneficial for both you and your employer if an agreement can be reached that both sides are satisfied with.
The amount a settlement can be worth, like the amount typical workers comp benefits are worth, greatly depend on context. Usually, these settlements are paid out in a lump sum, but certain stipulations can be made for future benefits. For example, on top of the lump sum settlement money, your employer may agree to continue paying for any medication you require because of your injury.
Depending on the scenario, receiving a lump sum payment can be a necessary boon for an injured worker as they progress through their recovery. However, one important thing to note is after receiving a settlement you are no longer entitled to the other benefits listed above. Therefore, it is best to consult an attorney before undergoing the negotiation process with your employer.
Common Workplace Injuries and Recovery Costs
According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCII) the average cost for all workers’ comp claims in 2019-2020 was $41,353. The same study also showed that the most expensive claims came because of a motor vehicle accident with an average cost of over $85,000 per claim.
Another important factor to look at when determining how much your injury may be worth is the nature of the injury. Amputation comes with far and away the most expensive recovery, with the average cost coming in at over $118,000. Other injuries that are associated with above average claims costs are fractures/crush injuries, burns, and other trauma.
The final thing to consider when evaluating the cost of your injury is the body part affected. On average, head injuries pay out the most, followed by injuries to multiple body parts, hip/pelvis, leg, neck, and arms/shoulders.
While these numbers help paint a picture of how much you can expect your injury to be worth, without context they don’t tell the whole story. Every worker compensation case is different, but the benefits made available to you exist first and foremost to aid your recovery and get you back in the workforce. Therefore, the way your body recovers from your injury will ultimately determine how much you can expect your injury to be worth.
Remember to always looks for ways to avoid accidents at the workplace!
When evaluating how much your workplace injury may be worth, there are several things to consider. The first thing to keep in mind are the benefits every injured worker is entitled to: medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits. Another option is to forgo these benefits and seek a settlement with your employer, but when pursuing this course of action, it is best to consult an attorney to help guide you through the negotiation process.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding a work injury, unsafe working conditions or unfair treatment, be sure to contact us for a free consultation/case review.
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