If you are injured while working, there is a system in place to ensure you are compensated for your losses. This system is called workers’ comp. If you rely on this system, you probably have a lot of questions. Workers’ comp is a complicated system, with lots of ins and outs, so it can be hard to have a full grasp on how it works. This simply guide will answer the question, “How long do I have to be out of work to be compensated?”
What Workers’ Comp Covers
Workers’ comp usually covers two types of losses:
- Expenses related to the injury
- Lost wages
Any expenses you have related to the injury should be covered, including medical bills, medicine, canes, and other pieces of equipment. On top of that, you also will be compensated for the wages you were unable to earn due to your injury. So if you are unable to work for one month due to a work-related accident that broke your leg, workers’ comp would give you an amount equal to what you can earn in one month, plus all medical expenses. There is usually a minimum amount of time of missed work you need to qualify for lost wages compensation. Often, this amount of time is seven days. You are always entitled to compensation for other expenses, no matter how much time you actually miss.
So, for example, let’s say you sustain a head injury and go to the hospital for stitches. The doctor tells you that you can go back to work immediately. Workers’ comp would compensate you for the cost of getting the stitches, and any other expenses such as an ambulance ride. You would not receive compensation for lost wages. This would also be the case if you missed any number of work days that is lower than the minimum.
Know Your Own System
It is very important for every worker to realize that the rules and regulations surrounding workers’ comp vary greatly from one state to the next. It is vital that you have a good understanding of the laws in the state you work in. For most states, the minimum number of days missed to receive compensation for lost salary is seven, but some states have this number set to 14 or another number. It may be helpful to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer to get the facts straight for your state, although it is the responsibility of your employer to understand these laws.