Being faced with a work-related injury or illness severe enough to require medical attention and time away from your job can be devastating. There are some uncertainties that come when you file your workers’ compensation claim and begin accepting benefits, such as continuing to collect paychecks, and whether or not you will have a job when you recover.
With an injury or illness that is severe enough to require significant time off work — more than three days — you may become eligible for wage replacement through your workers’ comp benefits. To start, you must provide your employer with a doctor’s note stating what all of your injuries are, and how long they expect you to be unable to perform your duties.
If you only need three days to recover, most companies will count those as part of your yearly paid-time-off, unpaid time-off, or sick days. If your doctor says you will need up to 14 days to recover, you may receive temporary disability through workers’ comp, and if you need more than 14 days, disability payments may be provided. In most states, this equates to about two thirds of your normal wages, up to your state’s maximum weekly wage limit. Keep in mind that these funds are not taxable, so your financial stability should not be badly affected.
Keeping Your Job
Depending on where you live, most states do not provide job protection in these situations, so if the company you work for is busy and needs to hire someone else to take your place, they can legally do this if you begin receiving workers’ comp. A few states provide some protection for a certain period of time, such as six months or one year. At that point, if you are physically able to return to your original job, they might allow you to take back your job or offer you a similar position. If you are unable to take your original job, they may be willing to provide you with another job that you are physically able to do.
If you’ve been hurt at work and need workers’ compensation to cover your medical bills and lost wages, be sure that you can prove that your injuries were in fact work-related, and be aware of the amount of compensation you might need going forward. In the case that you think the compensation being offered to you is inadequate, or your claim is denied, consult with a workers’ compensation attorney, like a workers’ compensation attorney in Milwaukee, WI. They can help you work through the correct paperwork, meet all the necessary deadlines, and collect enough evidence to prove your case so your claim goes through and you can rest assured that your bills are adequately covered.
Thanks to Hickey & Turim for their insight into what paid time off looks like with workers’ compensation.