Workers’ compensation programs are most frequently run by the states, and they serve to protect employees who suffer from work related injuries and illnesses.If an injury or illness is caused by an event, occurrence, or frequent exposure at your place of work, then workers’ compensation is meant to help you pay for your medical bills, and to provide you with support during the time that you are recovering from the injury or illness that you suffered. While not all places of work are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance policies, most are. State laws vary on which businesses must provide workers’ compensation benefits, sometimes excluding businesses that are very small with very few employees. Your access to workers’ compensation benefits comes as an exchange, because employees are often only permitted to seek benefits through the workers’ compensation program, rather than suing in a court of law.
Workers’ Compensation covers injuries, illnesses and mental illnesses
The most common scenario resulting in workers’ compensation claims is a work related injury. Injuries that occur while a person is at work are the easiest cases to prove causality between work and the medical condition that occurred. If you trip and fall at work and sprain your wrist, the connection between your fall and the injury are likely pretty clear. There are certain exceptions to coverage though, as in cases where employees are injured because they were committing a crime at work, or started a fist fight, or showed up intoxicated and ended up injured as a result.
The situation becomes more challenging with illnesses and mental health conditions. Some well-established work related illnesses include black lung disease in coal miners and mesothelioma in workers exposed to asbestos. In those cases, the work connection has been shown, but in many other cases, the direct cause for an illness can be somewhat ambiguous. Was your heart disease hereditary and a result of your poor diet, or was it your highly stressful job? Did you develop cancer because of handling carcinogens at work, or because you smoked cigarettes? Questions like these create challenges when proving that illnesses are the result of work related activities.
The same problem exists with mental health issues, but in the case that an employee can convincingly show a connection between a mental health condition and something that happened or happens at work, then workers’ compensation should cover that person as well.
Workers’ compensation can provide medical care and support to an injured person
Individuals who suffer injuries or illnesses at work and who qualify for workers’ compensation are entitled to coverage for medical care related to the injury or illness that they suffered. This would include tests, treatments, surgeries, and physical therapy.
Workers’ compensation also pays disability to workers who are injured and cannot return to work for a period of time, or forever. So if your injury required you to undergo surgery and you had to miss several weeks of work, you would get payments to help support you during this time. The amount of money that you would be entitled to would not equal your normal salary however. Instead, you might receive two-thirds of what you normally earn. Since you are not required to pay income taxes on this money, it actually does not create too big of a difference from what you normally are paid.
If an employee dies as the result of something work related, death benefits can be paid to the individual’s dependents, and to help with funeral and burial related expenses.
If you are unsure whether your injury or illness qualifies for workers’ compensation, or if you believe you should be covered by workers’ compensation but were denied, you should speak with an attorney to discuss your case and determine the course of action most likely to help you receive the medical care and financial support that you need to get better.
Contact Stern Law, PLLC for A Free Consultation
At Stern Law, PLLC, we have compassionate and caring attorneys ready to work with you in order to find the best strategy for seeking compensation for your job related injuries. Contact Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for a free consolation with an experienced attorney.