Workplace injury can have a significant impact on a worker’s life, particular when the injury has permanent effects. Whenever a worker is injured on the job, of course, the first matter of concern is to ensure the incident is properly reported and management is aware it, and that the worker receives any necessary emergency care. Once these immediate concerns are addressed, it is important for the worker to understand what types of workers’ compensation benefits are available and the process for filing claims for these benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits can be broken down into several categories: for an injured worker, there are medical benefits, and then there are benefits for lost wages and other monetary compensation resulting from temporary or permanent disability. A third category of workers’ compensation benefits, available to dependents of a deceased worker, is death benefits. To receive any of these benefits, the workplace injury in question must be deemed compensable under state law, which is an issue we will not look at here.
Benefits for medical costs
Medical benefits include costs associated with visits to the doctor, hospitalization, medical testing, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and prostheses. Such costs, to be reimbursed, must be deemed medically necessary and must be authorized by the insurer, so it is important to follow the correct claims process. Medical benefits also pay for visits to an authorized primary doctor or specialist.
Benefits for lost wages and compensation for permanent injuries
In terms of lost wages and other compensation, the workers’ compensation benefits available depend on the nature of the injury, specifically whether it is temporary or permanent, as well as whether it is total or partial. Such benefits don’t begin until after seven calendar days of the worker being incapacitated, though the first seven days is compensable if the incapacity goes beyond 21 days.
We’ll pick back up on this issue in our next post.