If you have been hurt while working, your employer should have you file an insurance claim. Almost all employers with a certain number of employees must provide workers with workers' compensation insurance coverage at no cost to them. However, the way things work can leave some hurt workers confused and even upset. To help you understand what is next after you experience a work-related accident, read below.
After Your Accident (or the Discovery of an Occupational Illness)
Your primary workers' comp benefits, once your claim is approved, are medical expense coverage and a partial wage. All related medical treatment costs should be covered with your workers' comp doctor directing all care including referrals to any specialists as necessary. Along with medical care, you will be paid a partial disability wage. If the doctor orders you to stay out of work, you are no longer paid a salary from your job. The disability wage varies in the amount but it won't be as much as your salary. You will continue in this manner until more decisions about your medical status are made.
When It's Time to Learn More About Your Health Status
At some point, you may become well enough to return to work and all of your workers' comp benefits will come to an end at that time. However, some workers will be asked to participate in an independent medical exam (IME). This exam is to determine how close you may be to returning to work. Alternately, the exam may also determine whether or not you have a permanent injury.
You Are Deemed to be at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
After the IME, the insurer may decide you need a few more weeks of rest before returning to work. They might also determine that you are at MMI. That is the same thing, as far as your benefits go, as having a permanent injury and you may be entitled to a settlement from the insurer.
It's Time for Settlement Negotiations
Most hurt workers rely on a workers' compensation attorney to help them with this very important and final step in the process. You may be unable to work at any job and will need enough money from the insurer to replace the salary you won't be receiving. Talk to a workers' compensation attorney. They know the law, what you should be paid, and they know exactly how to make the insurer pay you what you deserve.