This content is for informational purposes and is not intended to provide legal advice.
In the event of a workplace injury, the injured person in question isn’t the only one affected by pocket-draining expenses and the emotional defeat of sustaining an injury. When you’re injured on-the-job, your family will be directly impacted.
Members of your family, close friends, and your significant other may experience sympathy pains in response to the emotional and physical pain you’re experiencing firsthand. Your spouse and any dependents may be directly affected by the financial strain of missing a paycheck if you’re unable to return to work, due to the injuries you’ve sustained. Not being able to perform your job duties will limit your ability to contribute to your family’s financial picture—translating to a lost livelihood, coupled with crippling medical bills.
Although a workers’ compensation program covers a large portion of the costs associated with an injury, your family will still have to incur a hefty cost. The average injured worker will personally swallow about half of their existing medical costs.
This financial strain can be more excruciating if the injured person is the primary source of income, as in the case of single-parent households. On top of these financial difficulties, your family will have to contend with high levels of stress and depression caused by the lost wages and a disabled loved one.
Below are steps you should take to ensure financial stability for your family, in the face of a workplace injury.
Consult your HR department
Many organizations have programs put in place to offer financial protection for workers who sustain injuries at work. Employers develop these kinds of employee-assistance programs to offer their employees a wide range of benefits when they’re injured on-duty.
You should consult your company’s human resources department immediately, and inquire if any employee compensation programs are available. If in-place, these programs can relieve any financial strain weighing on your conscience and lessen the emotional load of compounding medical bills.
Some of the benefits offered through organizational employee compensation programs include:
These medical benefits help a beneficiary cover all pertinent medical expenses such as surgeries, prescription medication, and medical transportation. The medical benefit requirements may vary, depending on your employer. Some employers require that all injured employees are treated by the designated company physician.
To maximize the medical benefits that you receive, consult your company’s HR department. Otherwise, you may be left to absorb the burden of hidden expenses.
Temporary and Permanent Disability Benefits
If a work mishap leaves you disabled, it may result in the loss of income if you’re unable to honor your work commitments. The side effects of an accident can be offset by the disability benefits, which cater to both permanent and temporary disabilities. Your employer may offer to compensate your lost income through partial, temporary, or total disability benefits.
File a Claim With Your Disability Insurance
Apart from your employer’s benefits package, you’re also allowed to purchase disability insurance policies offered by private companies or public agencies. If you had purchased a policy to protect yourself from the risk associated with on-site injuries, you should immediately inform your provider in the event of an accident. This kind of insurance can help cover medical expenses associated with your workplace injury. Disability insurance will reimburse part of your pre-disability income if you lose your job after an accident.
If you are covered by both the mandatory workers’ compensation state program and a private disability insurance policy, the law allows both carriers to make an offset, which is a deduction from your benefit, if your disability claim is successful. Having a portion of the staggering medical expenses covered and receiving compensation for your lost wages can help reinstate your family’s financial stability.
File a Worker’s Compensation Claim With The State
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program mandated by the state that is used to ensure employees in the case of any injuries or illnesses that may occur on-the-job. Each employer is required by the state to acquire such insurance for its employees, with the exception of Texas.
As an employee, you benefit by receiving medical care after you’re injured on the job. When you’re on medical leave due to your sustained injuries, you’re entitled to receive a portion of your previous income through the state program. Each state dictates different rates of compensation you receive when you’re permanently, partially, or temporarily disabled.
Regardless of your disability status, you’re required to immediately inform your employer in the unfortunate event of an on-site accident. You may lose your right to receive benefits if you fail to inform your employer within a certain time frame. In turn, your employer is obligated to provide you with fact sheets that clearly outline all the benefits that you’re entitled to. If you’re still unsure about your responsibilities or the qualifications related to each program, you should consult the responsible state agency.
File a workers’ compensation lawsuit If necessary
Most employers offer workers’ compensation insurance as a means of protection against potential lawsuits. To avoid having an employee sue their employer for compensation, the program typically prohibits employees from initiating any lawsuits in response to their on-the-job injuries.
Although the compensation system shields the employers, you can still file a lawsuit against your employer in exceptional cases. If your injuries result from intentional tortious acts or reckless conduct by your employer, you should sue them.
If you do decide to tackle a workers’ compensation lawsuit, be aware that these cases can time-consuming and emotionally-draining. You should consult with a competent team of attorneys like those at Schwartz Law Firm when weighing the pros and cons of filing a workers’ compensation claim or filing a lawsuit.
You’ll want to know how and when to file a compensation claim for a workplace injury. Otherwise, you and your family may be flooded with devastating medical bills that will distract you from your ultimate goal of recovery.
This content is brought to you by Jana Gray.
The post How to Provide for Your Family After a Workplace Injury appeared first on The Good Men Project.