After years of working your job without any serious issues, one day there’s an incident. Maybe inclement weather causes visibility issues, or perhaps a machine malfunctions while you are close by. It’s even possible for a mistake by a co-worker to quickly result in an accident that causes you a serious injury. Suddenly, you’re faced with the potential of not working for several weeks or even months while you recover. That can leave you worried about your ability to meet financial obligations and provide for your family.
The good news is that work-related injuries typically qualify for workers’ compensation coverage. This kind of coverage is crucial for ensuring that those who work for a living don’t wind up impoverished as a result. The benefits can help you secure the medical care you need while also taking the necessary time to recuperate. After you get hurt while working, you should report the injury to your employer and then file a claim for workers’ compensation as soon as possible.
The most common and well-known workers’ compensation benefit is medical coverage. Unlike your employer-sponsored or marketplace policy, there is no co-pay, deductible or co-insurance for the person seeking medical care. That means that a workers’ compensation medical claim won’t leave you with mounting medical expenses, unlike standard health insurance.
If your injury will prevent you from returning to work, you may also qualify for temporary disability income. You will receive a portion of your standard weekly wage until you are able to return to work. For those who simply cannot return to work due to the severity of the injury, there are permanent disability benefits and supplemental job displacement benefits. These can include retaining and education to help you seek a new job that can accommodate your injury.
You may think that given your work performance and history that your employer will be on your side in the event of an injury. In reality, however, you may go from seeming like an asset and a valuable employee to a liability causing additional expenses. Claims for coverage on a workers’ compensation insurance policy could result in higher premiums. That could be motivation for your employer to retaliate against you for filing or even try to deny your claim.
If your employer is hostile in the wake of a workplace injury, be sure to document every interaction to the best of your ability. An unwillingness to accommodate your injury by adjusting your workflow or penalizing you for medical appointments could both point to retaliation. If you experience that, you may need to explore your other legal options in the wake of your accident and injury.