An Overview of the Various Benefits under Workers’ Compensation

Worker’s compensation, or workers’ comp, includes medical coverage for those injured on the job – it provides an entire host of benefits for people in this situation. Let’s review the various benefits available under workers’ compensation.

Workers Comp Medical Benefits

Medical benefits pay for the medical care due to a work related injury covered by workers’ compensation. This benefit covers all reasonable and necessary medical treatments. For example, it will cover surgery to repair the injury and physical therapy to get someone back to work, but massages and aromatherapy may not be considered part of the treatment plan workers’ comp will pay for.

It is essential for those who have been injured at work to seek medical assistance as soon as possible, since you may not qualify for medical benefits through workers’ comp if the condition could be blamed on something else. For example, if you’re suffering from back pain but ignore it to play sports, the company could argue the injury came from the sports game, not work. Furthermore, they can argue that the injury wasn’t really that serious, since you played sports. In Ohio, you have one year from the date of the injury to file a claim. However, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to show that the injury was actually related to your job activity.

Chronic injuries may take time to become evident, whether it is cancer due to chemical exposure at work, or damage due to a repetitive stress injury. In these cases, you may be able to file a claim for workers’ comp benefits, when you first noticed symptoms, rather than giving an exact date of injury. However, it is in your best interest to be evaluated and file for worker’s compensation as soon as you realize the issue. Medical benefits in these cases can include any exams and tests to verify the condition, medical treatments to try to resolve the condition, and physical therapy when required.

Lost Wages

In most states, employees will receive around two thirds of their average weekly wage for time missed because of their injury. The average weekly wage is determined by averaging their income over the prior 52 weeks. The payout may be capped such that a high-income person receives less than two thirds of their weekly pay. Taxes typically aren’t due on this money.

A lesser-known form of “lost wages” is seen when you are working in a lesser paying position while recovering from your injury. If you made $25 an hour working in a physically demanding job, but they now pay you $15 an hour in the light duty role you’re cleared for, workers’ compensation may pay part of the difference between these two jobs. In our example, the person would typically receive $6-7 an hour – and it would be tax-free.

Lost wages are not a cure-all. For example, the workers’ compensation system may stop providing lost wages when someone is found to be permanently, severely disabled. Then the injured person may need to begin the process of qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits, though they may be able to receive a lifetime of payments from Workers’ Compensation, as well. In other cases, the person receives a lump sum payment for permanent partial disability.

Retraining Benefits

Suppose you were injured so badly that you cannot return to a physically demanding job. Perhaps you worked in construction and can no longer perform tasks associated with construction work. Perhaps you cannot carry heavy loads anymore after injuring your back. In these cases, workers’ compensation may pay for you to be retrained so that you can learn new skills. The goal here is to learn what is necessary to resume working a job you can do.

Death Benefits

At a minimum, some worker’s compensation benefits will pay out some money toward funeral and burial expenses. Death benefits may provide some financial support for the family of the deceased, though it is no substitute for life insurance. Workers’ compensation benefits should not be something you rely on, and you can’t count on it for a variety of reasons. For example, the money will only go to dependents, and who is classified as a dependent may vary based on state law. In many states, you must be married to your partner at the time of your death for them to receive workers’ comp death benefits. Life insurance, on the other hand, can go to anyone you designate as a beneficiary. In some states, the children have to be born in wedlock and be under 18 to receive any financial aid. If you die without dependents, the only death benefits your estate receives are funds to be used toward funeral and burial expenses and any medical bills associated with the work related accident.

Ohio Workers Compensation Assistance

Workers comp laws vary from state to state. If you are in need of a workers compensation attorney in Ohio, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Clements, Taylor, Butkovich & Cohen LPA, Co. in downtown Cincinnati today.