Workers compensation has many different facets. It works to protect employees and businesses in case an employee is injured on the job by providing compensation for medical expenses and legal fees.
The main sections of workers compensation are:
- Medical Expenses provides compensation for important immediate medical bills for the injured worker, such as an ambulance, surgery, hospital stay and more.
- Legal Expenses covers the business in case an employee sues for an injury. This can include court costs, attorney expenses and settlement fees.
- Disability Coverage has various aspects of compensation for employees who are disabled to a work-related injury.
- Death Benefits provides compensation to an employee’s family in the unfortunate case that the employee passes away due to a work-related injury.
There are four main types of disability coverage: partial temporary disability, partial permanent disability, total temporary disability and total permanent disability. Each disability is ranked based on a percentage. Keep in mind that workers compensation typically doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions and may have limited benefits for disabilities affected by pre-existing conditions.
Partial Temporary Disability
Partial temporary disability means the employee is partially disabled for a temporary amount of time. Disability generally means that you are unable to return to work. Partial disability means that you can do some work, but not in the capacity that you used to. An example of this would be tearing a tendon and having limited movement while it heals.
Partial Permanent Disability
A partial permanent disability is determined by the areas of the body affected and the amount the employee can work afterward. An example of a partial permanent disability includes a paralyzed leg or a severed finger.
Total Temporary Disability
Total temporary disability means the injured employee is completely unable to work for a certain period of time after the work-related injury. An example of this would be a warehouse worker breaking their arm, rendering them unable to move boxes while their arm heals.
Total Permanent Disability
Total permanent disability is perhaps the most severe type of disability. This means the employee is unable to return to work due to disability. An example of total permanent disability would be the employee suffering from paralysis in 90% or more of their body, loss of both hands above the wrist, loss of both feet, total loss of hearing and sight or loss of a hand and a foot.
When an employee is injured, it’s important to file workers compensation immediately. Medical issues can arise at a later date, and waiting too long may limit the compensation an employee receives.
How Are Disability Benefits Paid for Workers Compensation?
The amount of benefits and length of time they are paid for disability depends on the situation and injury. Some benefits may be paid as a lump sum while it can also be paid as monthly. In cases of total permanent disability or partial permanent disability, benefits could be paid for the rest of the employee’s life. These benefits can go towards services such as:
- Physical therapy
- Wage replacement
Wage replacement is calculated as a percentage of the employee’s weakly wages and is paid as long as the disabled employee is unable to work.
All employees should be aware of their employer’s workers compensation limits. Not all states require businesses to carry workers compensation insurance. Texas, for example, doesn’t require businesses to carry this insurance, but highly recommend it. Other states have exclusions for business and positions. Volunteers are typically not required to be covered under workers compensation. Most businesses that are required to carry workers compensation include high-risk or primarily physical jobs, such as construction.
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