“Workers’ compensation” (workers’ comp) is a state-mandated program that provides benefits for employees who are injured on the job. Generally, payments are made to compensate for all or a portion of lost wages (past or future), medical expenses, and any benefits payable to the dependents of workers in the case of a death. Workers comp benefits do cover certain types of illnesses, but don’t cover pain and suffering.
Compensation for lost wages tops out at 2/3 of a worker’s average wage or a fixed maximum amount – whichever is the greater. The good news is that this wage replacement benefit is not taxed and begins after just a few days of work being missed.
Types of Work Injuries Covered by Workers’ Comp Programs
Workers’ compensation insurance programs differ from state to state. Refer to the Workers’ Compensation page on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website to verify the applicable laws in your own state. If injured on the job, you may be eligible for compensation for these types of injuries:
- Repetitive motion (or repetitive stress) injuries that primarily afflicts the wrists, hands, and forearms.
- Personal injury at work-related or sponsored activities such as meals, meetings, events, or normal work tasks.
- Occupational illnesses such as lung cancer, by being exposed to toxins at work over a long period of time. Another example may be mental strain brought on by increased work duties or a supervisor’s constant harassment.
Ultimately, there must be a clear connection between the job and the illness.
Know your rights and legal options
Because workers compensation is essentially a type of insurance, it precludes employees’ from suing employers for the injuries covered. However, there are some situations in which you may take legal action against employers:
1) If your injury was caused by someone other than your employer, or by a defective product you used on the job, such as a piece of equipment that malfunctioned. You may also file a workers’ compensation claim in this case.
2) If your injury was caused by reckless or intentional action by the employer. But if you choose this option, you cannot file for workers’ compensation benefits.
3) If your employer discriminates, harasses, or unjustly terminates you for filing or intending to file a claim.
Get help when you need it
Getting your physical and mental health back is critical. Seek medical attention when necessary. In the event you need more help than a single doctor can provide or your insurance company is willing to approve, consult with an attorney.
Workers’ compensation or personal injury lawyers help to ensure that your rights are protected from start to finish. Most attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they don’t get paid, unless you get paid.
If you’d like to get your case reviewed for free, simply call 1-888-675-7179 or fill out the form at right.