After being injured on the job, workers compensation is supposed to make it easier for you to recover. After all, you're already hurting because of the incident, and there's really no reason for you to focus on anything but getting better. Unfortunately, not all injuries are so simple that they'll be a thing of the past after a doctor releases you as fit for full duty. Before signing anything, consider a few workplace injury issues that could mean a greater need than what workers compensation has to offer.
What Does Workers Compensation Cover?
The workers compensation program is designed to help workers recover after injuries that are bad enough to put them in the hospital, or at least bad enough to make them less effective at work. This usually means having your medical bills paid as long as they're related to the workplace injury, and receiving a percentage of your paycheck as you recover.
Standard workers compensation situations assume two things:
- You can fully recover from the injury. The medical care covered by the workers compensation program is enough to get you back into the swing of things within a set number of weeks.
- The money is enough. You're not getting a full paycheck, but losing a few dollars is fine for recovering and not being at the workplace.
Unfortunately, not all injury situations follow these constraints. Some injuries take longer to heal than expected, and there may be some lingering conditions that affect your ability to be productive, maintain your career level, or be competitive for a new job. For some households, any pay cut puts a strain on finances that are already struggling.
Disability Concerns For Injured Workers
If your injury lasts longer than the limit of workers compensation, or if a doctor can identify your condition as a permanent disability, you need to go beyond the workers compensation system. Unfortunately, it takes a legal professional and medical opinion to make a claim strong enough to survive an appeal system or courtroom deliberation.
Make sure to consult a lawyer and a doctor not attached to the workers compensation process. This is to make sure that the examination isn't being handled by someone who could be influenced by claims professionals, employers, or vendors related to the injury incident, and to ensure that you're filing the proper legal paperwork.
Workers compensation has processes in place for extending the amount of time you have on the system, but you may need to seek disability through Social Security or other social safety net programs. If negligence is suspected, a personal injury claim against an employer, fellow employee, or vendor isn't out of the question.
Contact a workers compensation attorney such as Paul F Guthrie to discuss additional claim options, as well as negotiation points on your current claim before signing a single page.