An Overview of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you’re injured at work, it can be a stressful and difficult time, especially if the injury is serious. If you’re unable to work as a result, you may be concerned about how you’re going to pay your bills. As an injured employee, you have the right to certain benefits. This is where workers’ compensation comes in.
Injured Workers Can Receive Certain Benefits
Under the workers’ compensation law, employees who are injured on the job can receive medical care and other benefits to help them recover from their injury. The process generally works like this:
- The first thing an injured worker needs to do is to file a claim for workers’ compensation. This is done by immediately notifying your employer of your injury and asking to see a doctor.
- Your employer’s insurance provider, or the employer itself, has the right to choose the doctor who will facilitate your care.
- If you refuse to submit to a medical exam or you fail to keep your medical appointments, your workers’ compensation benefits are at risk.
- If you fail to follow the orders laid out by your doctor, you risk losing your benefits as well.
Your Own Medical Doctor
You can see your own doctor for an examination of your work-related injury, but you may be responsible for the costs associated with seeing your own doctor. You may be able to convince your employer or the insurance company to allow you to seek treatment by a medical provider of your choice.
When the doctor who provides your treatment determines you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement, you can ask for an independent medical exam to ensure that you are recovered from your injury. If there are differing medical opinions as to whether or not you are fit to return to work, contact a workers compensation lawyer for legal guidance.
In addition to receiving medical care for your injuries, you are entitled to receive wage replacement benefits if you are out of work for more than an allotted period of time. You’ll receive a certain percentage of your average weekly wages which is meant to help you get by as you recover from your injury. Unfortunately, injured workers are not fully reimbursed for lost wages, and there’s also a maximum on how much wage replacement benefits you can receive in a given year.
Once you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement status and you return to work, your benefits will terminate. However, there are some individuals who suffer permanent disabilities and cannot ever return to work. There are some benefits in place in the workers’ compensation system that pay benefits to those who never fully heal from their injuries. This is determined based certain criteria including the level of your impairment and the type of disability you suffer.
Retaining a Workers’ Comp Attorney
The process of filing a claim for workers’ comp can be easy as the laws are there to protect those injured on the job. However, some insurance companies and employers make the claims process a nightmare. This is why it’s best to retain the services of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer Milwaukee WI relies on, who can help to navigate you the claims process.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers compensation.