What to Do When Workers’ Comp will not Pay Your Lost Wages
Like Massachusetts, most states guarantee workers will be taken care of in case of injury through a workers’ compensation program. This form of employer insurance coverage is meant for medical bills and lost wages when employees cannot perform their job duties either partially or completely due to their work-related injury or illness.
But what can you do when workers’ comp will not pay your lost wages?
This situation happens more often than it should and the best course of action is to consult an experienced workers’ comp lawyer for help.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Lost Wages?
Most workers do not stop to consider whether workers’ comp will cover lost wages if they get hurt on the job until such an unfortunate incident happens. So, does workers’ comp cover lost wages?
The short answer is yes but it can be a complicated matter when an employer’s insurance company disputes the facts of the case and is unwilling to pay.
Normally, injured workers receive a percentage of their lost wages as disability income benefits. How much they get and for how long depends on the severity of the injury or illness which is determined by physicians and/or other qualified medical professionals.
Different types of disability categories or levels include:
- Temporary Total Disability
- Temporary Partial Disability
- Permanent Disability
- Permanent Partial Disability.
Let’s have a closer look.
Temporary Total Disability
Injured workers who are 100% unable to perform their previous job duties due to their injury or illness for a minimum of seven days are entitled to temporary total disability benefits. Under this disability category, the benefits amount to two-thirds of weekly wages up to a predetermined maximum. Although these benefits take effect on the eighth day, benefits for the first seven days will be paid if injured workers remain disabled under this category for more than 21 days.
Temporary Partial Disability
Temporary Partial Disability applies to injured workers who are still able to work but either not at the same job they held before or as many hours, meaning that they are making less money. These disability benefits amount to two-thirds of the difference between what was earned before and what is now being earned. For example, if you were making $1,200 a week before the work-related incident in question and your wages are now down to $600 a week, the difference is $600. In this scenario, you would receive $400 weekly from workers’ comp.
If it is determined that you are permanently and totally disabled because of your workplace injury and cannot go back to work as a result, you may be eligible for Permanent Disability payments. These benefits may be granted for life. Usually, injured workers under this disability category receive two-thirds of their pre-injury weekly wage, just as with Temporary Total Disability.
Permanent Partial Disability
When there is a permanent disability to a certain degree but not completely, injured workers may be entitled to Permanent Partial Disability benefits. The amount of these benefits is, again, two-thirds of your pre-injury wages and a limit will be placed on how long benefits are granted. This period of time will be determined according to the body part that was injured and how severe the injury is.
Despite what workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to, you may come across a situation where the insurer or even your employer will dispute facts to deny you what is legally yours. The wisest thing to do is to turn to an experienced workers’ comp attorney for legal counsel.
What do to get Workers’ Comp Lost Wages Benefits
Insurance companies sometimes have valid reasons to deny workers’ comp claims, such as when fraud is an issue. However, they often unjustly deny valid claims as well. To ensure you get the medical and lost wages benefits you deserve, this is what you should do:
Getting the medical treatment you need is not just the right thing to do for yourself but also shows through professional records that there is an injury or illness. Ideally, you should go to an authorized clinic or hospital. Your employer should have a list of these medical facilities. However, if it is an emergency, you can go to the nearest medical care center for help. Ask for copies of your medical records, which will help your workers’ comp lawyer in case of complications with your case.
Report your Injury
Once you have sought medical assistance, it is important that you notify your employer of your situation as soon as possible. Waiting too long to do this can cause the insurer to pause and suspect fraud. Although doing this verbally is acceptable, you should report the incident in writing to boost the evidence in your favor.
Record the Effects of your Injury
Keep records of how your injury or illness affects not just your ability to work but every aspect of your life. Even though these records are not as important as professional medical records, they can still help your case.
Consult an Attorney
By far, the best thing you can do to ensure you get the benefits the law says are yours is to consult a workers’ comp attorney. A qualified lawyer will be able to examine all the facts of your case and advise about what benefits you are entitled to and what can be done to obtain them.
Depending on the circumstances and facts of your case, following these steps should enable your workers’ comp attorney to negotiate a favorable settlement for you.
Call Us for Help
If you have suffered an injury or illness due to job-related activities, you should not have to worry about the hassle of fighting against an insurance company to get the lost wages benefits you need to live a normal life. We are proud to say that we have extensive experience helping injured workers obtain the benefits they legally deserve.
Call the Law Office of Robert E Frawley at (617) 523-2929 for help with your workers’ comp claim.