Accidents, injuries, and illnesses can happen at any workplace, regardless of the employer’s safety measures and precautions. In such cases, employees are entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and other related costs. Workers’ compensation and disability benefits are two types of compensation available for employees who have suffered an injury or illness.
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance employers must provide to their employees. It is designed to benefit employees injured or ill due to their job. Workers’ compensation provides the following benefits:
- Medical Expenses: Workers’ compensation covers the cost of medical treatment, including doctor visits, surgeries, hospitalization, prescription medication, and physical therapy.
- Lost Wages: Workers’ compensation compensates for lost wages due to injury or illness. The amount of compensation varies depending on the severity of the injury, the length of time the employee is unable to work, and the employee’s salary.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: Workers’ compensation also covers vocational rehabilitation, which includes training or retraining for a new job or career if the employee cannot return to their previous job due to the injury.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation
The following requirements must be met to receive workers’ compensation benefits:
- The employee must have suffered an injury or illness while on the job.
- The injury or illness must have arisen out of and during employment.
- The employee must have reported the injury or illness to their employer within a certain timeframe.
The government provides disability benefits to individuals who cannot work due to a disability. Disability benefits are provided through two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI is a federal program that benefits individuals who have worked and paid Social Security taxes for some time. The amount of the benefit is based on the individual’s earnings record. SSI is a federal program that benefits individuals with limited income and resources who are disabled.
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
The following requirements must be met to receive disability benefits:
- The individual must have a disability expected to last at least one year or result in death.
- The disability must prevent the individual from performing a substantial gainful activity.
- The individual must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain time to be eligible for SSDI benefits.
Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Disability Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits are paid by the employer or their insurance company, while the government pays disability benefits.
The eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation and disability benefits differ. Workers’ compensation benefits are available to employees who suffer an injury or illness while on the job, while disability benefits are available to individuals who are disabled and unable to work.
The number of benefits provided by workers’ compensation and disability benefits differ. Workers’ compensation benefits are based on the employee’s salary, while disability benefits are based on the individual’s earnings record.
Duration of Benefits
The duration of benefits provided by workers’ compensation and disability benefits also differs. Workers’ compensation benefits are provided for the duration of the employee’s disability or until the employee can return to work. Disability benefits are provided for as long as the individual remains disabled.
Common Types of Workplace Injuries
Injuries that can occur on the job are varied and can range from minor cuts and bruises to serious, life-altering conditions. Repetitive motion injuries are a type of injury that results from performing the same motion repeatedly, such as typing on a keyboard or assembly line work. Slips and falls can occur due to wet floors, uneven surfaces, or poor lighting.
Overexertion injuries are caused by lifting, pushing, or pulling heavy objects. Machinery accidents can occur due to the improper use of machinery or equipment. Vehicle accidents can happen when driving a company car, truck, or vehicle. Electrical shocks are another injury that can occur due to faulty electrical wiring or other electrical hazards.
To prevent workplace injuries, employees must follow safety protocols and report any hazards or safety concerns to their employer. This can include using proper lifting techniques, wearing appropriate protective equipment, and staying alert while working.
Employers are also responsible for ensuring the workplace is safe for their employees and addressing any hazards or safety concerns reported to them. Employees and employers can help prevent workplace injuries and ensure a safe working environment by working together.
The Role of an Attorney in Workers’ Compensation and Disability Cases
Navigating the process of applying for workers’ compensation or disability benefits can be overwhelming, especially for those who have never been through it before. That’s where an experienced attorney can help. A workers’ compensation or disability attorney can assist in several ways.
Lawyers can help with the application process by ensuring that all necessary documentation is included. This includes medical records, work history, and other relevant information that supports the employee’s claim. A lawyer can help gather evidence to support the employee’s claim. This can include speaking with witnesses, obtaining medical records, and collecting other relevant documentation.
Attorneys can negotiate with insurance companies to ensure employees receive the compensation they deserve. This can involve negotiating a settlement or taking the case to court if necessary, and a lawyer can represent the employee in court if a dispute arises. This includes presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and advocating on behalf of the employee.
Appealing Denied Claims
In some cases, workers’ compensation or disability claims may be denied by the employer or the government. When this happens, employees have the right to appeal the decision.
It’s important for employees to understand the appeals process and to work with an experienced attorney to increase their chances of success. The appeals process may involve filing additional paperwork, providing additional evidence, and attending hearings.
Receiving Both Workers’ Compensation and Disability Benefits
Sometimes, employees may be eligible for workers’ compensation and disability benefits. However, it’s important to note that the total amount of compensation cannot exceed a certain limit. This is known as the “offset” rule, which reduces the amount of disability benefits an individual can receive based on the amount of workers’ compensation they are receiving.
Employees need to work with an experienced attorney from Shelly Leeke Law Firm to navigate the process of receiving both types of benefits and to ensure they receive the maximum compensation to which they are entitled.