One of our NC Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialists recently answered this question on Youtube:
And it’s true. With workers’ comp, the types of claims you can make are limited, but you may be eligible for much more than just medical benefits.
However…you might need to know what to ask for.
Workers’ comp benefits for time off work
Workers’ compensation essentially provides for two types of benefits – medical benefits and then wages-lost benefits.
Wages-lost benefits can be divided two ways:
- Benefits for time you had to take off of work. This category of wages-lost benefits is fairly straightforward. If you broke your leg at work and then had to stay at home and rest for 6 weeks, you could receive benefits for the time you were unable to work during those 6 weeks. Benefits for time off of work might also include trips to the doctor, time out for physical therapy, working less hours or less strenuous jobs that pay less, etc. Temporary Total Disability (TTD) and Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) are both types of workers’ compensation benefits in this category.
- Benefits to make up for wages you might lose in the future. This group of benefits can be a little more complicated. If your work injuries will leave permanent damage that may make your job difficult in the future, you may be eligible for benefits in this category .For example, let’s say you work in construction, fall off a roof and hurt your back. And after it’s healed as much as possible (or reached ” maximum medical improvement” in workers’ comp terms), you just cannot stand on your feet for long periods of time like your construction job requires you too. Then you might be eligible for future lost-wages payments. You might receive a Permanent Partial Disability rating and be compensated for the physical damage to your body and how it might affect your work, you might be able to apply for vocational rehabilitation benefits to go back to school and learn another trade that’s easier on your body or you might be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability if you’re unable to work at all.
No coverage for pain and suffering in workers’ comp
If you heard that there are certain benefits you might not get in a workers’ compensation claim, it might be that someone was talking about “pain and suffering.”
As part of the “workers’ compensation bargain,” workers are not permitted to sue their employer personally (unless he/she intentionally caused the accident) and can therefore only receive benefits related to their physical needs and ability to work.
However, if your injuries were the result of a third-party, then you might be able to pursue a claim that takes into account the non-economic impact the injury has caused.
For example, if you’re a truck driver and, while working, you have a car accident that was not your fault, then you might be able to take up a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. This claim might be able to include charges for your pain and suffering.
“Pain and suffering” could include something like being burned and having to painstakingly dress your wounds daily or undergo painful skin grafts.
(It’s worth noting that if the accident WAS your fault, you can typically still file for workers’ compensation as workers’ comp is a “no fault” system).
NC workers’ comp lawyers
In our experience, insurance companies are probably not very likely to tell you about all the additional benefits you may qualify for. If you’ve been hurt at work, we strongly recommend speaking with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.