When workers are hurt on the job, workers' compensation insurance is the solution they need. This form of coverage pays the injured worker a partial salary and all of the related medical bills. In most cases, workers spend a few days away from work and are back to their previous positions in no time at all. Unfortunately, some workers have more serious injuries. When a workplace injury fails to get better and the worker cannot go back to work, a four-step process begins. Read on to learn more.
1. Disability Wages
Once a worker's injury has been reported to the workers' comp carrier by filing a claim, the workers can stay home and recuperate. The decision about treatment options rests with the doctor, which can be either a personal doctor or a special workers' compensation doctor (depending on state provisions). The doctor has the power to order the hurt worker to remain away from the job for a certain amount of time. While the worker remains at home, they won't be eligible to receive their usual salary, but they will receive disability wages. This amount of pay can vary, but it is never as much as the regular salary.
2. The Independent Medical Exam
If the injury keeps them from working for a long period of time, the worker may be asked to undergo an independent medical exam. The timing of this exam depends on the nature of the injury. For example, if they have a severe injury, the exam may occur earlier. If they have an injury that can take some time to heal, the exam may be ordered after some treatment and perhaps even surgery. This exam is performed by a third-party physician and the results are reported to the workers' comp carrier.
3. Permanent Injuries
In some cases, the worker will be found to have a permanent injury as a result of the work-related accident or occupational condition. The workers' compensation agency might refer to the workers' injury as being at maximum medical improvement. That means that further medical treatment is authorized but that the worker will not be able to return to their previous position. The weekly disability wages will be discontinued.
4. Lump Sum Settlements and Rehabilitation
The final step is the settlement. The workers' comp carrier will offer the permanently disabled worker a sum of money in compensation for their injury and the loss of their job. While this money is known as a lump sum, it can be structured in various ways to pay out a bit at a time on a regular basis. Most workers are also eligible for rehabilitation, such as job training for other positions, and more. The negotiation for the settlement amount is vital, particularly if the worker is unable to work at any job.
Speak to a workers' compensation attorney, like those at Dawson & Associates, LLC, for help in getting the lump sum settlement that you need.