An Employee’s Guide to Worker’s Compensation

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Despite the best intentions of business owners and employees everywhere, work-related accidents happen.

This is especially true if you work in construction, in a restaurant kitchen, and any other job that comes with higher inherent risks. Worker’s compensation is designed to help cover the cost of medical bills, time away from work, and lost wages that are the result of an accident that happens in the workplace.

That being said, worker’s compensation claims do have some ins and outs that most people are unaware of unless they find themselves injured on the job. This is one of the places that companies tend to do the least education and it can lead to confusion and frustration in the event that worker’s compensation needs to be used for someone who has been injured on the job.

If you want to learn more about worker’s compensation, read on!

What is Worker’s Compensation?

Also referred to as worker’s comp, this is the insurance that is put in place by businesses to cover losses and expenses that are related to an employee being injured on the job. This insurance protects you as well as the business from large medical bills and the costs of lost wages during the recovery period after an injury.

Worker’s compensation is legally required of many businesses, and you can think of it just like your car insurance. It is there to protect you in the event that something untoward happens while you are working at your job.

How Does Worker’s Compensation Work?

As with any other kind of insurance, worker’s compensation begins with a claim that is initiated either online or on paper. Worker’s compensation claims are unique in the sense that they sometimes require that the employee is assessed by a doctor before the claims start to be paid out.

Worker’s compensation is regulated at a state level and different states offer different kinds of worker’s compensation coverage. This can make it hard to assume what the process will be or what your coverage will work like, even if you have been injured in another state while you were at work.

All worker’s compensation claims will begin with filing the incident report and then a doctor will examine your injuries and send a report to your worker’s compensation company. The doctor will recommend a set time period for your recovery, but this number can change over the course of your treatment plan and related recovery. You will not go back to work until you have been released by your doctor to do so.

What is Covered by Worker’s Compensation?

Worker’s compensation is intended to help you to have time to recover from an injury. You will be paid a percentage of your wages based on a variety of factors that are determined by your claims adjuster. This wage benefit is the thing that most people think about first when they are starting a worker’s compensation claim, but there are other benefits that are covered by worker’s compensation as well.

Worker’s compensation will pay for your medical expenses related to the accident and they might also pay out a benefit that is related to pain and suffering in some cases. In many states, your claims adjuster will also build in compensation for your sick and personal leave time that is being taken for your time off of work. This is not the same as getting those benefits back when you are released to return, but you will be given monetary value for the days.

What to Do if You Have an Active Worker’s Compensation Claim

This is the part of the education process that is often neglected for employees when they are being trained by their hiring entity. The lack of information that is given to employees about worker’s compensation can lead to major errors on the part of the affected employee that can cause problems for them as far as accessing benefits.

The first stumbling block that many people run into is that they do not take their doctor’s visits seriously enough. You MUST go to all the scheduled doctor’s visits for your worker’s compensation injury or you might not be able to draw benefits while you are still recovering. Doctor’s assessments are the only landmarks that worker’s compensation providers have to determine if you qualify for benefits.

If you must cancel an appointment, you should always make a new one as soon as possible so that your claim will stay on track. There is nothing worse for an affected employee than finding out that their benefits are being held until they are able to get to the doctor.

The other thing that you need to do as your worker’s compensation claim progresses is to track carefully all your doctor’s visits and all the costs for any braces, medical items that were installed in your home during your recovery, and other costs associated with your healthcare during your time away from work. Despite the best efforts of everyone involved in your claim, there are going to be items that are missed and you will want to be able to produce proof that you spent money on a brace, a medication, or a device.

Worker’s Compensation is a Valuable Resource

While many employees are totally unaware of the benefits that they are offered at their job related to worker’s compensation, they are always grateful for them if an injury occurs. Taking the process of your worker’s compensation claim seriously and making sure to follow all the rules related to your recovery is important if you want to continue to get benefits while you are away from work.

Being willing to track costs and attend doctor’s appointments are the two major determining factors for a smooth worker’s compensation experience if you have been hurt on the job. In many cases, after following the set timelines of your worker’s compensation claim, you should be back to work without limitations.

Being injured at work is always scary, but worker’s compensation coverage will help get you back on your feet in no time.

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