Workers who sustain injuries or illnesses on the job, no matter the cause, typically are eligible for Columbia workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to pay for medical care and reimburse injured or ill workers for 66 and two-thirds percent of their average lost wages due to their medical condition. In cases of permanent disability, workers also may be entitled to a settlement or continuing weekly benefits to compensate them.
Although workers’ compensation benefits should be readily available to all employees, the insurance companies that administer these benefits do not have your best interests in mind. Their role is to minimize the benefits that they pay you, no matter the severity of your injury or illness. As a result, you might need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to help you get the benefits that you deserve.
When individuals suffer a work-related injury or illness, their priority should be to obtain the medical care that they need. However, the first step to getting medical attention for a job-related medical condition should be for employees to notify their employers of the incident. Failure to provide this notice to the employer could result in ineligibility for workers’ compensation, which is generally the primary remedy for workers in this situation.
Workers also must be cautious about seeking medical care and treatment under the direction of the workers’ compensation insurer. By law, the insurance company has the power to dictate where injured or ill workers may receive medical attention, although the insurer also must cover all relevant medical expenses. Going to a doctor or other medical professional other than those whom the insurer prescribes could result in the loss of the medical component of workers’ compensation benefits in Columbia.
Payment for lost wages due to a work-related injury or illness varies according to the severity and the duration of the disability. For instance, wage compensation can take the form of temporary total disability benefits or TTD. These benefits may be available when individuals must be off work altogether for three or more days due to medical restrictions related to the injury.
These benefits usually are available until a doctor allows individuals to return to work with restrictions an employer can accommodate or until they have ended treatment because they have reached maximum medical improvement. If individuals can work at all with their illness or injury, they may not be eligible for TTD benefits. Instead, they may qualify for temporary partial disability benefits, which are reduced benefits based on the earnings that people have from working part-time or reduced hours.
Permanent partial disability benefits are typically available to compensate an injured worker for the permanency of their work-related injury. This benefit is available to injured workers regardless of whether or not they were able to return to the same job or the employer found a different job in order to meet medical restrictions put in place as a result of the injury.
Conversely, if individuals are entirely unable to work in any job as a result of their work-related illnesses or injuries, they may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits. These benefits can take the form of a weekly payment for life, or the workers may negotiate a lump-sum settlement award of workers’ compensation benefits in Columbia.
The process of obtaining Columbia workers’ compensation benefits is not always as easy as it might seem. Workers who are unaware of their rights and responsibilities ultimately may not have coverage for work-related illnesses and injuries. As a result, contacting experienced legal counsel for advice may be wise.
Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind when determining whether to pay workers’ compensation benefits to you. As a result, you may lose out on crucial benefits that you need during a typically challenging time in your life. Consulting a personal injury lawyer about your rights and options may be beneficial to you as you navigate the often-complex workers’ compensation claims process.