Some workers hurt while on the job recover and return to their job without incident. Unfortunately, some workers have injuries that don't just disappear in a few weeks. If you've been hurt at work and fear you will never be able to work at your job again, read on to find out more.
The initial benefit period of weekly checks and staying home to recuperate will come to an end. It's replaced, however, by other benefits.
You may be asked to undergo an exam by the workers' compensation insurer. This exam is to verify your recovery and to determine whether or not you have a permanent injury.
If you receive a ruling of maximum medical improvement after the exam, that means you have been judged to have a permanent disability and cannot be asked to return to your previous job. If you disagree with the findings of the exam, you may need to speak to a workers' comp lawyer. You are entitled to have another exam performed, and you also have the right to appeal any decision made by the insurer.
Soon after the ruling, you may be offered a settlement. Settlements are supposed to take the place of your earnings for the job you can no longer do. The amount you are initially offered may be less than you deserve. Be sure to get some professional legal help with your case before you agree to anything. Have a workers' comp lawyer look everything over to ensure you are getting everything you deserve. Workers' comp settlements are based on several factors, including:
- Your age and how many years of work you have left.
- Your previous salary and education level.
- The degree of your disability. You might be ruled to be 100% disabled, or you may simply have a partial disability.
- Other similar cases in your area.
Pay close attention to the way your settlement is structured. You can be paid a lump sum all at once or take your settlement in regular payments. Structured payments are easier on the insurer, and workers may be offered larger total amounts if they agree to break up the checks by weekly or monthly payments.
Another connected issue is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The Social Security Administration (SSA) has rules about how much money you can have coming in and still qualify for benefits. If you plan to file for SSDI, discuss your structured settlement with your lawyer first.
Being told you can never work again can be a devastating blow, but don't allow your emotions to prompt some bad decisions. Get a workers' comp lawyer on your side to protect your interest and get the best settlement possible.
To learn more, contact a workers' compensation lawyer.