What Kind Of Benefits Will I Receive

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Employers who are not exempt from providing workers' compensation insurance benefits for their employees purchase a policy with specifics spelled out to meet the minimums required by individual state laws. Since the workers' compensation laws were designed to keep all but the most extreme cases out of the courts, no determination of fault is required. In exchange, each individual state's laws have spelled out the value or amount to be paid on a claim.

Workers' compensation benefits were designed to cover all medical expenses, some lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation when necessary. The employer or designated representative, such as an insurance claims adjuster, will select a physician or medical facility to provide diagnosis and treatment for an employee who is injured on the job. Payment arrangements are made in advance, so that the employee does not pay out-of-pocket to see the doctor or to purchase medications. Some other expenses, such as mileage for driving a car to an appointment, may also be reimbursable to the employee.

Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that accommodates employees who need compensation for medical care due to an injury during the course of work. This insurance is provided in exchange for the employee's right to sue their employer for negligence. Plans vary according to jurisdictions, though they can be made for weekly payments instead of wages as a type of disability insurance, compensation for past and future economic losses, the payment or reimbursement of the medical expenses as a type of health insurance, and benefits payable to the depends of workers who were killed as a type of life insurance. Not included in workers' compensation plans are punitive damages for employer negligence and general damages for pain and suffering.

The workers' compensation laws also have provisions for replacing a portion of lost wages. Individual states have approved amounts from 50% to 60% of the employee's customary wage. Since this is a non-taxable amount, the payment is intended to be close to what the employee's net take-home pay would be. In most states, however, there is also an initial period of lost time that an employer is not responsible to cover.

If an employee receives an injury or occupational exposure that prevents him or her from returning to the same work as prior to the claim, the employer may be liable to provide vocational rehabilitation. This, again, is an expense that is paid directly to the provider selected by the employer or the claim adjuster, not generally as a reimbursement to an employee. Vocational rehabilitation may be as simple as training an employee to perform his or her job in a slightly different way or supplying specialized equipment that would allow continuation of regular work, or it might be as complex as providing tuition for training in a completely different field of work.

Workers' compensation laws additionally may provide for settlement payments for loss of the use of a body part or loss of life. These payments are determined on a scale that is strictly regulated by state laws and usually involve decisions based on the physician's report stating the expected duration of loss (permanent or temporary) and the degree of loss (partial or total). The amount may be provided in a single lump sum, more than one lump sum, or in regular payments over a designated period of time.


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