Workers’ Compensation Benefits Explained

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Until the early 1900s, American workplaces were very dangerous places. Employers often paid huge sums to settle injury cases and victims often waited years for their day in court. So, workers agreed to give up their civil claims if management provided an efficient, no-fault benefit system. Thus, the workers’ compensation system was born.

Things have changed a lot since 1911. Back then, workers’ compensation usually sped a fair amount of benefits to injured workers, so they could get back on the job. A century later, the system is a bloated bureaucracy dominated by insurance company interests and this has greatly slowed the process.

The system itself is still in place, so job injury victims are entitled to substantial benefits, which are outlined below. However, unless these victims have an effective Edwardsville workers’ compensation lawyer, they often end up settling their claims for far less than they are worth. As a result, these victims cannot quickly get back to work and fully provide for their families.

Lost Wage Replacement

Most families live hand-to-mouth. Two-thirds of the families in Illinois and Missouri don’t have enough cash to pay a $400 emergency expense. So to most households, a few months without a paycheck, or even a few weeks without one, could be financially devastating.

Fortunately, workers’ compensation replaces lost wages. The amount of replacement usually depends on the type and severity of injury, as follows:

  • Permanent Total Disability: If the victim cannot work again due to a work-related injury, workers’ compensation usually pays a lump sum which compensates the victim for past and future lost wages.
  • Permanent Partial Disability: Many victims never fully recover from their injuries. For example, if a victim goes partially deaf, that injury is permanent. A hearing aid just keeps it from getting worse. Most of these victims are entitled to reduced lump sum payments.
  • Temporary Total Disability: Most victims are TTD victims. They cannot work while they recover. In these cases, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the victim’s Average Weekly Wage for the duration of the disability. More on the AWW below.
  • Temporary Partial Disability: Some victims can work while they recover from temporary disabilities, but they must accept lower-paying light duty work or reduce their hours. So, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the difference between the victim’s old and new income.

The AWW includes both regular and irregular cash and non-cash compensation. Additionally, the AWW is forward-looking. Many victims miss bonus targets and overtime opportunities because of their injuries.

Medical Bill Payment

Workers’ compensation would be woefully inadequate unless it also paid medical expenses. The medical bills in a serious injury case are often tens of thousands of dollars. Most health insurance companies cite liability concerns and refuse to pay these costs.

The medical bill payment benefit usually applies to all reasonably necessary medical expenses. This category includes expenses like:

  • Emergency treatment
  • Follow-up care
  • Transportation costs
  • Medical devices
  • Prescription drugs
  • Physical or occupational therapy

Once again, this benefit covers both past and future medical expenses. Unless a settlement accounts for probable future medical expenses, victims could be stuck with these bills.

Job injury victims are entitled to substantial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Louis, contact Walton Telken, LLC. Home, virtual, and hospital visits are available.

FAQs

Does workers’ comp pay lost wages?

Since victims and their families must pay bills while they’re injured, workers’ compensation pays past and future lost wages.

Can I sue outside the system?

In some cases, injured workers can file civil claims and obtain additional compensation.

Does workers’ comp pay medical bills?

Yes. Workers’ compensation usually pays all reasonably necessary direct and ancillary medical costs.

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