Workers who get hurt while on the job or in a work-related accident or illness have a powerful form of coverage available. Your employer, in all likelihood, covers their employees with workers' compensation insurance. You won't need to pay anything for this coverage, and there is no waiting period for the coverage to begin. Read on to learn more about this coverage and how you can get things started when an accident happens to you.
Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
If you are hurt badly enough, you must seek medical care right away or as soon as possible. Medical treatment is necessary to claim workers' comp benefits, and there are specific rules about who to see in each state. In most cases, you should go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care clinic and then consult with the workers' comp insurance carrier for advice on who to see for your continuing care.
Benefits to Expect
All of your medical care will be paid for by the insurance carrier, as long as it was related to your accident or illness. You won't need to pay anything to the doctor, the hospital or the pharmacy; it's all taken care of. Going forward, if your workers' comp doctor orders it, it will be covered by workers' comp.
When you are too hurt or sick to go to work, workers' comp also will pay you a portion of your usual salary. This pay, known as disability pay in some cases, is not meant to be a complete salary replacement; it's often just 66% percent of what you would have been earning before you became hurt. The actual amount varies by state, your salary, and other factors.
If you are unable to return to your job you can expect a few other benefits. Rehabilitation might provide you with new job skills and you may be offered a lump sum payment from the insurance carrier if your injury is permanent.
File Your Claim
None of the above is possible without filing a workers' comp claim and it is up to you to alert your supervisors to the need for that claim. In some states, hurt workers can access a claim form online and file for their own benefits, but no matter what you must let your supervisor know about your injury. Take the following steps:
1. Seek medical care.
2. Alert your supervisor in person, by phone or by mail of your accident. If you are severely injured, the reporting may be done by a family member.
3. Read and sign the accident report or claim. Make sure that the details of the report are correct; mistakes could delay your benefits being paid.
4. Follow up to make sure that claim has been filed. If you encounter problems with your employer filing the claim, contact your state's workers' comp board.
5. Begin keeping up with all claim and medical paperwork and documents using an expandable file holder.
If you are having problems with any aspect of your workers' comp claim, speak to a workers' compensation attorney to help ensure that you get all of the benefits available