When you are injured while working and are seeking benefits through workers’ compensation, you are entitled to weekly compensation for your injury and lost income, payment for your medical treatment, benefits for permanent impairment and payment for vocational rehabilitation.
Weekly Compensation Workers’ Comp Benefits
Workers compensation provides weekly benefits to disabled employees. The main types of disability benefits that you can collect include those for temporary, permanent, total and partial disabilities.
Temporary disability means that you are still recovering and that your condition is expected to improve. Permanent disability means that you have reached the level of MMI, or maximum medical improvement, whereby you have reached the point where you are not likely to get any better than you are. Total disability means that you are disabled to the point where you cannot perform any type of work. Partial disability means that you can do some level of work, performing sedentary or minor tasks.
Workers’ comp benefits for employees with disability in Tennessee is two-thirds of the employee’s average earnings per week over the 52 weeks prior to the injury. Workers’ comp benefits for employees with a partial disability involves a bit more calculations.
Since you’re expected to be able to perform some type of work, your average weekly wage after your injury is subtracted from your average wage prior to your injury. Take 2/3 of this number, and you have the amount of weekly benefits for partial disability.
Payment for Your Medical Treatment
Your benefits should include payment for your medical treatments related to your work injury. This usually includes all expenses associated with receiving your medical treatment including the traveling expenses to and from your treatment. This can include everything from parking to tolls and even mileage traveled.
Disputes can sometimes arise with the insurer over whether certain treatments are necessary and should be covered under the workers’ compensation. This can happen if the insurer believes that a certain treatment has gone on for too long or if a particular method of treatment is not widely accepted. In these cases, you’ll need to file a claim with your state’s workers’ compensation agency to try to get payment.
Permanent Disability Coverage
The American Medical Association (AMA) has published guidelines for defining permanent impairment, but in general, it’s when you have restricted motion or limited use of a certain body part. Certain states also include scarring as a form of permanent impairment as well.
In order to demonstrate how much you would receive in benefits, let’s say that a medical expert concludes that you have a 30% permanent impairment in a limb that you injured at work. If your workers’ compensation would normally pay $100,000 for a 100% permanent impairment in that limb, you would receive 30% of that amount, or $30,000.
Payment for Vocational Rehabilitation
If your injury prevents you from performing the same line of work as before your injury, you may need to undergo vocational rehabilitation or job retraining. Workers’ comp benefits normally include payment for new job training.
If you are having difficulty understanding the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to, contact a workers’ comp lawyer at Mitch Grissim & Associates in Nashville, TN.