Most people understand the basics of workers’ compensation and how it works. That is, until they find themselves injured on the job, uncertain about what to do next. It can be a stressful situation to find yourself in.
Here, we want to delve into some of the details of workers’ comp claims – including what they cover and what you should do after being injured on the job – to help you recover the benefits you deserve while healing from your injury.
If you have any questions about your situation, we encourage you to reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney who can answer your questions and, if necessary, represent you throughout the claims process.
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that most employers across the country are required to carry. It serves as an important protection for both workers and employers.
For workers, it ensures they have some protection if they are injured on the job, allowing them to recover benefits for the cost of treatment and their time away from work.
For employers, workers’ comp coverage protects them from lawsuits since employees are generally not able to sue their employers for injuries that occur while on the job.
Workers’ compensation benefits can be confusing, though the overall goal is to help injured workers pay for the costs of medical treatment and the lost wages they face as a result of their injuries. Let’s take a closer look at each type of benefit.
Medical coverage benefits take care of the direct costs of medical treatment after a workplace injury. These costs can include everything from an ambulance ride and hospitalization to prescriptions and therapy.
While workers’ comp will cover some of your lost wages after an on-the-job injury, how much you receive and for how long depends on several factors.
With Temporary Total Disability (TTD), if you are unable to work whatsoever while healing from your injuries, you can receive 2/3 of your weekly wages, though it might be capped at a certain dollar amount.
On the other hand, if you are able to continue working with lighter duties, you may instead be eligible for Temporary Partial Disability Benefits.
At the Karl Truman Law Firm, we handle workers’ comp claims in both Indiana and Kentucky, so what benefits you are eligible for will depend on which state you live in.
If an injury makes it impossible for you to return to your previous job, you may also be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits, which can include job training, career counseling, and more.
In worst-case scenarios, when a worker loses his or her life because of a workplace accident, workers’ comp will pay death benefits to the deceased’s family. These benefits may pay for immediate expenses, including funeral costs, as well as compensation for the lost wages experienced by the family.
To ensure you can receive the workers’ comp benefits you need and deserve, there are a few steps you should follow.
Getting a workers’ comp claim approved will largely come back to your medical records. It must be clear that your injury impacts your ability to work.
That said, make sure you know where to go for medical attention. In an emergency situation, you can go wherever is closest. On the other hand, if it is not an emergency, you may need to go to a provider approved by your employer or their managed care plan. If you aren’t certain, ask your manager before seeing a doctor to ensure you won’t have to pay for your treatment out of pocket.
Once you have received medical attention, the next step is to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. In Kentucky and Indiana, you have 30 days to report your injury, though it is best to do so quickly to begin the claims process sooner rather than later.
You may need to fill out some additional forms, but the main points you will cover with your employer are the date of the injury, the nature of it, your symptoms, and how the injury affects your ability to work.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault system, meaning you may still be able to recover benefits even if the accident was your fault (unless you were intoxicated or caused the accident on purpose). That said, if you are able to gather evidence – such as photographs of the accident scene, information about the equipment you were using at the time, and anything else that might be relevant – you should do so.
This might be important for your workers’ comp claim, though it could also help you recover additional compensation beyond workers’ comp benefits through a third-party claim. For example, if your injury was caused by a defective product, you may be able to pursue compensation from the product’s manufacturer.
However, this can be a complicated process, which is why we encourage anyone considering a third-party claim to talk to a workplace injury lawyer as soon as possible.
The workers’ compensation process does not always require the involvement of a workplace injury attorney. That said, sometimes benefits are wrongfully denied and an attorney can help you navigate the appeals process so you can receive the benefits you and your family need and deserve.
Further, an attorney can help with third-party claims, which add a layer of complexity and technically fall under personal injury law – which functions very differently from workers’ compensation law.
If you are uncertain if you need an attorney, the best course of action may be to speak with a trusted attorney over a free consultation to get their advice before making a final decision.
At the Karl Truman Law Office, we understand how frustrating the workers’ comp process can be, and we are here to offer our experience, knowledge, and attention to help you recover the benefits and compensation you need and deserve after being injured on the job.