5 Key Worker’s Compensation Benefits You Should Know About
Although employers can take many steps to ensure a safe work environment, injuries and illnesses still happen. Workers’ compensation provides financial support for these situations.
Benefits vary by negotiated contract. Medical coverage includes fees charged for doctor visits, hospital treatment, prescription medication, and nursing care.
Most states require that businesses carry workers compensation benefits Oregon to help pay for employees’ medical care and funeral expenses for work-related injuries or illnesses.1
Workers’ compensation insurance is essential for protecting your business. Without it, an employee’s injury or illness can result in expensive lost productivity and the cost of hiring temporary staff to cover the extra workload.
If you have a health problem that seems related to your job, go to a doctor’s office immediately for treatment. You can change your doctor one time, but you will need the insurer’s permission. If your employer tries to push you to use your health insurance, talk to a Workers’ Comp lawyer immediately.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Many employers provide short-term disability benefits as part of their workers’ compensation coverage. Some are self-funded and managed in-house; others contract with an insurance company to provide an externally administered plan.
The key requirement for short-term disability benefits is that you must be medically unable to work, as determined by your doctor. Benefits are paid weekly, two-thirds of your average weekly wages, minus certain deductions, including overtime pay, shift differentials, and commissions.
The maximum duration of TTD payments is 24 weeks during a rolling 12-month period. However, you must satisfy a 14-day waiting period for each new period of disability. Sick time, vacation days, and holiday pay do not count toward the 14-day waiting period. Your doctor must also evaluate you for your return to work.
Whether an employee dies on the job or later from a work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation provides death benefits for their family and spouse. It also pays funeral expenses and a lump sum cash award for lost wages if an employee cannot return to normal employment.
Generally, an injured worker must not pay out of pocket for medical treatment approved by the workers’ comp board. Doctors can file forms to request a variance from the board for treatments not covered by their guidelines.
Dependent children and spouses can receive a lump-sum death benefit in the amount of their deceased loved one’s lifetime earnings. Grandchildren dependent at their parent’s death may also be eligible for payments for up to 364 weeks.
All states provide workers’ compensation to assist with medical treatment, lost wages, and funeral expenses for workers who experience work-related injuries or illnesses. Additionally, it offers compensation to the families of employees who pass away while on the job.
But the system has serious shortcomings, from insufficient oversight to insurance fraud. It is too easy for workers to exaggerate the severity of their injury or even lie about it.
Gig workers and freelancers are often excluded from the program because they need to pay into it through traditional employers. Reemployment would fix these problems by expanding eligibility, offering a universal training voucher redeemable at local community colleges or American Job Centers for skills training, and providing a job search stipend and bonus for landing a new position before income support runs out.
Loss of Earnings
Workers’ compensation insurance can pay for lost wages and medical expenses for an injured employee. It can also help cover funeral costs for a worker who died in a work-related accident.
Loss of earnings is a fairly straightforward category of damages that reimburses victims for past income. Lost income can include overtime, bonus payments, incentive pay, and accrued vacation or sick days.
However, damages for loss of future earning capacity are much more complicated to prove. Injured victims must submit expert opinions and analyses to demonstrate that their injury will limit their ability to work in the future. This category of damages is calculated by comparing an injured victim’s past earnings to their expected future income. Future losses may be estimated using copies of pay stubs, invoices, and employment history.