Can You Count On Workers' Compensation Coverage? How To Know
If you have been hurt because of a work-related injury, you might qualify under your workers' compensation insurance plan. The coverage is available for hurt workers who qualify at no cost since the employer pays the premium. If your workplace injury is covered by workers' comp, you might be paid a partial disability wage, full payment of medical expenses related to the injury or illness, and a lump-sum payment in some circumstances. Not all situations will result in benefits, however. Read on to find out more.
Know How to Qualify for Benefits
Workers should view workers' comp coverage as a benefit and not necessarily a right. Like all benefits, it's on the worker to make sure they follow the rules about filing claims. To that end, follow these steps after a work-related injury or sickness:
- Go to the doctor. It may sound like advice a hurt worker doesn't need but some workers don't realize that "toughing it out" could backfire on them. Don't be brave – be smart and seek medical care right away. Every moment you wait is damaging your ability to be paid the benefits you need.
- Follow the doctor's orders. In many cases, you may need to stay home while you heal. Don't return to work until you are ordered to do so.
- As soon as possible, let your supervisor at work know about the injury and follow through so a workers' comp claim form can be filed.
- Don't sign a claim form that has blank lines or the wrong information. It will hold up your benefits.
Learn When to Take More Action
Unfortunately, some workers may not be paid the workers' comp benefits they need. When any of the below problems pop up, let it be a sign you need more help with your case. Sometimes, workers are only paid the benefits they need after they contact a workers' compensation lawyer.
- Your employer refuses to file a claim on your behalf, won't communicate with you about the accident, or accuses you of faking the injury.
- Your claim is denied for any reason.
- You are told that you must return to work but are still too hurt to do that.
- You are told that you are permanently disabled but disagree with the ruling.
- You are told that you are permanently disabled and are offered a settlement. The workers' compensation insurance company will offer you only the bare minimum with a lump-sum settlement. To be paid what you need to cover you when you cannot work again, you will need legal help with your settlement negotiations.
Speak to a workers' comp attorney in your area to learn more.