When you’re hurt in the course of your work duties, worker’s compensation is there to protect you and make sure that you have the funds needed to pay your medical bills and get some level of weekly compensation to pay your bills and stay above water while you recover.
Many people wonder what kinds of benefits they can receive from workers’ compensation, or how much they will receive. Learn how workers’ compensation benefits are calculated, how much you can collect, what you can’t collect, and how a workers’ compensation attorney can help.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits – What You Can Collect
Workers’ compensation benefits are essential to keeping employees safe. This is a form of insurance that is carried by almost every employer, which allows you to seek compensation for your ongoing medical costs and recovery of some level of weekly benefits based on your existing salary. There are four types of benefits you can recover under workers’ compensation.
- Payment of medical expenses
- Weekly compensation
- Vocational rehabilitation costs
- Permanent impairment benefits (if warranted)
Payment of Medical Expenses
The most basic purpose of workers’ compensation is to cover your medical expenses. This includes everything from doctor’s visits to surgical procedures, physical rehab costs and medication you have to take. It can also include out-of-pocket expenses like transportation to and from procedures.
Weekly compensation is the most complex part of determining benefits. If you are disabled, the length and severity of your disability (temporary or permanent, partial or total) will determine the amount and length of time of your compensation.
Generally, compensation in North Carolina pays out an amount based on the severity of your injury (expressed in a percentage) and your average weekly wage. If according to the North Carolina schedule, your injury is worth 30% of your wages, you’ll receive that much every week. Temporary disability payments can be collected for up to 300 weeks and a maximum of just over 66% of your average weekly wage.
Vocational rehab is job training. If you’re deemed unable to continue your current job but should be able to work another, worker’s comp can pay for training in that new career.
Permanent Impairment Benefits
If you suffer total disability, this amount is equal to just over 66% of your average weekly wages over the past year. Permanent total disability payments in North Carolina, meaning you have achieved the maximum medical improvement you’re expected to achieve and won’t get any better, and still cannot work, can be collected for the rest of your life.
What You Can’t Collect
Worker’s comp does not provide benefits for pain and suffering, emotional damages, loss of comfort or the like. It exists solely to cover the medical expenses and loss of wages you suffer from a work-related injury. You also cannot sue your employer for personal injury damages if you have the ability to file a worker’s compensation claim.
Hiring an Attorney
Sometimes workers’ compensation benefits are unfairly denied. When this happens, hiring a workers’ compensation attorney can be helpful in challenging the denial and getting the benefits you deserve. If this has happened to you, Lewis & Keller can help. We’ve spent decades helping other people fight for their rights, and we are ready to protect yours. Give us a call or complete our online contact form for a free case evaluation today.