After suffering an injury or illness at work, you could face a significant amount of time off work and mounting medical costs. Hopefully, you will be able to get back to work quickly, but there is the chance that your injuries could keep you from work for weeks or months.
If you never fully recover enough to return to your former employment, that adds another layer of concern for you. More than likely, you are wondering how workers' compensation can help your financial situation. When you apply for workers' compensation benefits, you may receive one or more of the following benefits.
Payment of medical expenses related to your injury or illness
One of the most often provided benefits under workers' compensation is payment of medical costs. Even though all of your work-related illness and injury medical expenses are covered, it may help you to know what that means. Benefits typically include the following medical needs and expenses:
- Diagnostic testing
- Hospital care
- Doctor visits
- Nursing care
- Physical therapy
- Durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and crutches
You will not be responsible for any copays or deductibles relating to your treatment. You will receive these benefits until your injury or illness resolves. Your care may fall under a managed care plan.
Where does your illness or injury fall under disability categories?
The type of disability benefits you receive (which are intended to provide you with an income during your recovery) depends on the category under which your injury or illness falls. The four basic categories include the following:
- Temporary partial disability
- Temporary total disability
- Permanent partial disability
- Permanent total disability
Which category you fall into largely depends on the extent and severity of your illness or injury, if you are permanently disabled and the length of time doctors expect you to be out of work, among other factors. The value of your disability payments depends on numerous factors, such as the category into which you fall and your injury or illness, among other things. Simply put, the disability benefits you receive hinge on whether you will make a full recovery and how long it takes.
Can you receive benefits for rehabilitation?
This definition of rehabilitation does not mean physical therapy. In most cases, it involves vocational rehabilitation if you need help finding a new career due to your condition. It may also include psychological rehabilitation for any mental or emotional disability you may have incurred due to your work.
Receiving benefits may take more than filling out a form
Your employer may make it seem as though all you need to do is fill out a form or two in order to receive the benefits you need. Unfortunately, more often than not, it takes more than that. Obtaining much needed benefits may turn out to require much more. You may find it beneficial to consult with an attorney who understands how California's workers' compensation systems works and who routinely works with others in situations similar to yours.