Workers Compensation:

Workers’ Compensation Benefits and the Effects of Going Back to Work

Under workers’ compensation, an injured employee may be eligible for the following benefits:

Medical Care: The injured worker has the right to receive treatment to cure or relieve effects of the work-related injury. The employee can also receive compensation for medical bills, prescription drugs and travel expenses for hospital visits.

In certain situations, the employee may only be able to the company doctor for treatment. However, after a certain amount of time (usually 30 days), the worker can see a physician of their choice.

Temporary Disability: If the employee cannot work because of the injury, they may be eligible for temporary disability payments to cover lost wages. While the maximum payments can vary, they typically equal two-thirds of the workers’ weekly wages. After the physician verifies that the employee cannot return to work, the disability check will be sent to the injured worker within a few weeks.

Permanent Disability: If an employee cannot recover after a work-related injury, they may be eligible for permanent disability compensation. Permanent disability is awarded to an injured worker who has lost some ability to compete in the labor market of uninjured workers. The amount of compensation offered to the permanently disabled worker depends on how much their injury limits their ability to work. Distribution of permanent disability compensation also considers age, job titles, and earnings at the time of the accident.

Vocational Rehabilitation: If a worker cannot return to their job because of their injury, they may receive help in getting another job. During vocational rehabilitation, the employee receives partial income. These benefits generally have a maximum monetary limit, so this income may be replaced by an offer of an alternate position at the company.

Returning to Work after your Injury

If the injured employee returns to work and receives wages equal or greater to what they were making before the accident, the workers’ compensation benefits will stop. However, if the employee’s injury prevents them from receiving the same pay rate as before the injury, they may continue to receive benefits under workers’ compensation.

Many states allow injured employees to collect wage loss benefits, such as “temporary partial” and “temporary total” disability benefits. “Temporary partial” disability benefits are awarded to a worker who suffered an injury on the job and has become temporarily disabled, but can still earn wages despite the disability. The amount of “temporary partial” disability benefits is typically determined by the difference between the employee’s wage before and after the injury. On the other hand, “temporary total” disability benefits are paid to injured workers who are temporarily prohibited from working because of their work-related injury.

“Temporary partial” and “temporary total” benefits are not the only types of compensation available for injured workers, as workers’ compensation benefits vary by state. In addition, not every state offers these benefits. Injured workers’ should speak with a workers’ compensation attorney in their state to find out the benefits available under workers’ compensation law