Accidents can happen anywhere, at any time and under any circumstances. For employees that are injured at work, there are laws and regulations in most states that make sure employers provide workers’ compensation benefits for when accidents occur. This type of employer non-fault insurance means that if you sustain an injury in the workplace, you are entitled to medical treatment coverage and remuneration of lost wages in the event of total, partial, or permanent disablement.
State laws normally regulate the workers’ compensations benefits you are entitled to if you have been injured at work. This means entitlements and compensation will vary by state and will depend on where you are employed.
Read on to find out more about workers’ compensation benefits, what you may be entitled to and how you can avoid complications with your accident claim.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The primary function of workers’ compensation benefits is to cover any medical treatment expenses you incur to rehabilitate your injuries that you have sustained in an accident at work. The purpose of this treatment coverage is to allow you to return to work as if the injury never happened without any expense to you.
If you were injured in the workplace and are unable to attend your job, you will have lost wages you would have normally earned through your normal working hours. Workers’ compensation benefits entitle you to recover your lost wages that have resulted from your work-related injuries. Temporary total disability benefits are available for employees that are unable to return to work after sustaining an injury. This type of compensation will recover some of your wages that are lost by being unable to work your normal routine.
Temporary partial disability benefits will apply to an employee who has suffered a work-related injury, but is still able to work shorter hours or lighter duties at their job. This workers’ compensation benefit will allow you to make up the difference between your wage prior to the injury and what you are earning now because of your accident.
There are also permanent disability benefits available to those that suffer serious injuries at work that will prevent any future return to their job.
The amount of compensation you receive for medical treatment and disability benefits will vary greatly between different states and will depend on the severity and future outlook of your injuries as decided by your doctor.
When You Return To Work
The aim of workers’ compensation benefits is to help employees recover from their work-related injuries and allow them to return to their normal position. In other words, most compensation that you receive is a temporary benefit for workers that have been injured in a work-related accident and it is kept in place until they have fully recovery.
Once you are well enough to return to work, temporary total disability benefit payments are normally concluded, as they have achieved their purpose of compensating your income while you have been rehabilitating your injury. This means you will stop receiving compensation as you have returned to your previous position and will receive your usual wages that you earned prior to the accident.
However, if you return to work and are not working your full hours or are taking on lighter duties, you may still receive temporary partial disability benefits. The goal of this workers’ compensation benefit is to make up some of the difference between the wage you previously received and your payments after sustaining an injury at work. This means you can work and still receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Permanent disability benefits are normally awarded to reflect the severity of the injury and your long-term inability to return to normal work and receive the wages you were before.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud
Workers’ compensation fraud is when an employee willfully makes a false statement about their situation or conceals any information from the compensation claim process.
There are many ways that workers’ compensation fraud can occur that should be avoided. This can include actions such as making a false compensation claim, exaggerating your injuries, staying off work for longer than is necessary, or continuing to work when you are receiving some form of disability benefits.
For example, if you fail to mention to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carriers that you work a second job, you may be open to a fraud charge being brought against you. It can be common to think that since you were not injured in your other job that it is not relevant to this situation. However, not mentioning other employment can be damaging for your insurance claim and land you in bigger trouble later on.
It is recommended that you never conceal any information about your employment in order to avoid legal penalties. It is also important to openly share any details you think are relevant for workers’ compensation benefits prior to their approval. Reporting when you return to work after receiving compensation benefits will ensure you do not invite an insurance fraud charge against you.
It is not uncommon in some states for insurance companies to hire private surveillance services to verify the extent of your injuries. You risk losing your job and having a criminal record if you commit workers’ compensation fraud.
If you exaggerate injuries, do not report extra income, or work despite receiving a permanent disability benefits, you can be subject to civil and criminal prosecution for your actions.