If you've been injured on the job, it's natural to be anxious about your future. Part of securing that future is making sure that you get all the workers' compensation benefits you're entitled to have.
What exactly can you expect workers' compensation cover? This is what you need to know:
1. The ambulance ride to the hospital:
If you went by ambulance from work to the hospital, the bill can be hefty. Even a short ride can end up costing you hundreds of dollars! Fortunately, if you submit the bill to workers' comp, your employer's insurance company will pick up the tab.
2. The expenses related to your immediate injuries:
Whether you go to the hospital or see a doctor, workers' comp will take care of the bills. While emergency care is covered anywhere, however, the insurance company can sometimes oblige you to see one of their preferred doctors for injuries that don't require emergency services. Whether or not that's a requirement depends a lot on the laws in your state. You may be restricted to one doctor, without any choice, or given a list of physicians you can choose. In other states, you can pick your own doctor -- but you may have to endure periodic consultative exams with a physician from the insurance company.
3. The cost of your ongoing treatment:
If your injury requires extended care, like surgery or physical therapy, workers' comp is expected to cover those costs. Prescription medication or assistive devices related to your injuries, like braces or walkers, are also covered. However, to protect your interests, make sure that your doctor understands the connection between your job and your injury. Otherwise, you could have difficulty making the insurer pay.
4. At least part of your missed wages:
If you miss work due to your injury, workers' compensation will cover at least part of your lost wages. Generally speaking, the amount that you'll receive (and how long you receive it) will directly relate to the severity of your injuries. If you're totally unable to work, the benefit is about 80% of your regular pay.
5. Additional rehabilitative services:
If you need vocational or psychological rehabilitative services due to your injuries, you'll be able to receive them up to the limits of the insurance company's policy. In some states, you're limited to a specific dollar value of services. In others, you're given a maximum number of hours for your care. These include counseling sessions, education costs, and job placement services.
While these are the basic benefits workers' comp provides, there are additional benefits available for the most seriously injured. If your injuries are considered "catastrophic," you can qualify for things like home and vehicle modifications. There are also funeral benefits and death benefits available to the families of workers who don't survive their injuries.
If you're having trouble getting the worker's comp benefits that you're due, talk to a workers' compensation attorney in your area.