Workers who sustain job-related injuries or who develop an occupational illness can file a claim for benefits with the Workers’ Compensation, also known as Workers’ Comp. Cash benefits will cover cost of medical treatment and hospitalization, wage replacement, rehabilitation, retraining, disability, and death (which includes payment of benefits to survivors of the worker killed on the job). The usual wage replacement is two/thirds of the injured worker’s average wage; however, there is a fixed maximum amount set by states so that the benefits will not go over it.
Workers’ Compensation is an insurance-like program that is mandated and administered by the state. It is designed to provide immediate financial benefits to workers regardless of who was at fault for the injury or illness. Because it is almost exclusively financed by employers, it, therefore, serves as a sort of an exchange wherein injured employees, by choosing to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, automatically waive their right to sue their employer for additional compensation.
There are limits, by the way, to the types of injuries paid under the Workers’ Comp program. As a rule, benefits will never be paid to workers whose injury was self-inflicted, who were intoxicated at the time of the injury, or whose injury was a result of actions in violation of the law or company policy.
At only two/thirds of the injured worker’s average wage, the amount of monetary benefit that Workers’ Comp awards to injured workers is really low. This amount is definitely not enough, especially if the injury leads to temporary or permanent disability, or a severe chronic illness. Workers’ Comp also does not pay compensation for injured workers’ pain and suffering; it also makes no provision for punitive damages, which would serve as punishment to an employer for failing to eliminate dangerous conditions in the workplace in order to ensure safety of employees.
Despite the low amount of cash benefit, many injured workers greatly rely on Workers’ Comp to save themselves and their families from disabling financial conditions. But worse than the receiving an inadequate amount is not receiving anything at all due to denial of claims, a situation experienced by so many injured workers. The law firm Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, very strongly emphasizes the right of qualified injured workers to receive the benefits that is legally theirs. Thus, it advises injured workers to seek legal assistance from highly-skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyers, who may be able to help make sure that their application for claims is not denied.Read More