(US law) Worker’s compensation is designed to protect both employees and employers. When an employee is injured during the course of doing their duties, they can file a worker’s compensation claim to receive payment for lost wages, for medical expenses associated with treating the injury, and for partial or total disability if the worker is not able to return to work. By accepting the benefits payment, the employee is signing away their right to sue their employer for pain and suffering and other damages in civil court.
While you will start to receive your benefits after the insurer investigates your claim, you may be wondering how long you can collect benefits for any part of your claim. Read on and find out how long you can collect benefits and what you can do if you feel like the time you are given for compensation is not fair.
How Long Can You Receive Benefits For Lost Wages?
One of the main benefits of worker’s compensation is that you can receive compensation for lost time at work. While you will not receive all of your wages, you will receive a percentage of your after tax dollars (typically 80 percent). The total amount of time that you can receive compensation for your lost wages will vary from state to state. You must still be incapacitated and receiving treatment to continue collecting lost wages benefits.
If you are totally incapacitated, you may receive benefits for as long as you are unable to work but the benefits can be reduced after a specified time. Temporary Total Disability benefits are paid to you up to the point that you are able to return to work if the doctor feels like you will, at some point, be able to return to work.
What if You Are Permanently Disabled or You Will Never Be Able to do your Normal Duties?
If you have a Permanent Partial Disability, it may affect your ability to find a new job in a new field. Typically, the insurer will try to settle your claim and give you a lump sum payment for loss of use or loss of a limb. In this case, you will need to decide what is right for you so that you can continue to live your life and enter a new field.
How Long Can You Receive Compensation for Your Medical Bills?
While there is typically a time limit on how long you can receive compensation for lost wages, you can receive compensation for your medical bills for as long as you are receiving treatment. Medical and rehabilitation benefits are paid for life as long as there is no lapse in treatment and all of the treatment is necessary. If you stop treatment and the injury starts to bother you again, you can request that the insurer reopen the claim if you still have time within the statute of limitations in your state. You also have the option to settle for future medical care if the insurer is offering a settlement.
Worker’s compensation time limits and statutes of limitations vary from state to state. If you feel like you have not been given a fair amount of time to recover, you have the right to contact the worker’s compensation board in your state or hire a worker’s compensation lawyer to fight for you. Make sure you get the benefits that you are entitled to, do your best to recover from your injuries, and rebuild your life even after your injuries.