What Are Some of the Biggest Expenses After a Workplace Injury?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Tad Thomas with Thomas Law Offices.
Workplace injuries can be inconvenient and stressful in a myriad of ways, with unpredicted expenses playing no small part. This phenomenon is why most employers are required to offer some form of employee injury insurance, primarily workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that the employer pays for in order to provide injured employees with benefits such as medical bills and lost wage coverage after an on-the-job injury.
While workers’ compensation can help to pay some of the initial damages associated with the injury, these benefits may be insufficient in more severe injury cases that may call for a workplace injury claim. However, it’s important to note that in most cases, an employee receiving workers’ compensation benefits is not eligible to file against the employer unless negligence was involved.
Some of the biggest expenses to be aware of after a workplace injury include:
- Short or long-term medical bills
- Wages lost during treatment and recovery
- Ongoing physical and/or psychological therapy
- Impairment of earning capacity if the injury prevents you from working at the same capacity as before the injury
- Loss of chosen profession in the event that the injury prevents you from returning to your job entirely
- Lifecare expenses in the event you require additional support and/or devices to maintain the same quality of life after an injury
Depending on the injury and workers’ compensation program, some of the above expenses may or may not apply. Typically less severe injuries result in lower expenses and a faster recovery time, which means fewer lost wages. However, if an injury was severe and/or requires ongoing treatment, the expenses are likely to be much higher and may not be covered under workers’ compensation.
Expenses tend to be higher than estimated; it is not advised to let your employer unofficially pay for them.
Some employers may offer injured workers the option to let them pay for their medical bills and lost wages rather than reporting it workers’ compensation and having their insurance rates spike. However, workplace injury experts don’t advise this; more often than not, the estimations made for an injured worker’s expenses are much lower than the actual number, and may not take into account future expenses related to the injury. Especially in cases of serious injuries that may require ongoing treatment or physical therapy, there will usually come a time when the “money runs out” and the employer is no longer willing to pay.
Going through workers’ compensation ensures there is official documentation regarding what you are entitled to. If the injury was severe and/or caused by an employer or third-party’s negligence, you may also be eligible to file a workplace injury claim for your damages.
If workers’ comp is insufficient to cover your expenses, there may be other options.
When a workplace injury is severe enough that the expenses are far beyond what workers’ compensation will cover, it may be possible to file a workplace injury claim. Similarly, if the injury could have been prevented with proper attention to safety regulations by an employer or third-party, a workplace injury claim may be viable. The damages that can be sought in a workplace injury claim tend to far outstrip the compensation available solely via workers’ compensation. Expenses including past and future medical bills, lost wages, impairment of earning capacity, pain and suffering, life care expenses, and more can all be sought in a workplace injury claim and may be applicable in addition to workers’ compensation depending on the situation.
To learn more about your options for dealing with expenses post-injury, reach out to a workplace injury attorney in your area.