An employee injures his right shoulder after loading a heavy box onto the bed of a truck during the course of his job. The employee files a worker's compensation claim, which is accepted. Once the claim is open, he can expect to receive certain benefits, including payment of medical bills and compensation for lost wages. Other possible benefits might include retraining and a disability award.
Payment of Medical Bills
The most important benefit injured employees receive from a worker's compensation claim is payment of all medical bills related to the injury. Under state and federal worker's comp laws, an injured worker is entitled to medical treatment for all work-related injuries as requested by the attending physician. The treatment must be curative, lessen the employee's pain or provide rehabilitation for the injury. The employee should not pay anything out of pocket for these expenses.
Reimbursement for Lost Wages
Another benefit injured workers receive is reimbursement for wages lost due to the injury. If the employee is unable to resume his regular hours, he'll receive compensation for lost wages based on a percentage of his pre-injury wages. He'll need to submit an affidavit attesting to his inability to work due to his injury. Some states require a medical certification from the attending physician, as well as a statement by the employee.
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Another potential benefit for injured workers is vocational retraining. Vocational retraining is a benefit provided when an injured worker cannot return to the job he was doing when he received the injury. Under these circumstances, he receives the assistance of a vocational counselor, who determines whether he needs retraining in another field. Sometimes the vocational counselor can assist the employee with finding another job using his current skills.
Finally, an injured worker may receive a disability award when his claim closes. Disability awards are given to workers based on the severity of their injuries. For example, an employee who hurts his back on the job and needs surgery will most likely be entitled to a disability award. In this case, he has sustained an injury from which he'll never fully recover. On the other hand, a worker who suffers only a low back strain will probably not receive a disability award, since she'll be able to recover and return to her pre-injury status.