You may have sustained a work-related injury, but will this qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits?
Learning how the benefit process works will help you decide whether you are eligible to submit a claim.
Most employers who have four or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, the rule is only one employee for a construction company and five regular workers or 12 seasonal workers for farms and other agricultural businesses. If you are eligible under these guidelines, remember that your injury must have occurred while you were actively working on a task for your employer.
Your first responsibility following an injury is to seek medical attention. You must also inform your employer of the injury in writing so that there is an official record of the incident. Your employer should provide you with a workers’ compensation claim form to complete. He or she may then submit the form on your behalf.
The rating process
A doctor certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties can assign a disability rating to your injury once you have attained “maximum medical improvement.” There are four types:
- Temporary total disability: the employee can return to work, likely without receiving benefits
- Temporary partial disability: for workers who cannot return to full duty
- Permanent partial disability: for those who can return to the workforce despite permanent disability
- Permanent total disability: for workers who can never resume work
Prepare for consequences
Not all claims receive approval by a workers’ compensation insurer, but you can reapply. With the help of an advocate who understands the process, your second attempt at submitting a claim may have a greater chance of success and you can anticipate receiving the benefits you deserve.