If you get hurt while at work, you may become eligible to receive benefits through the workers’ compensation system. This system provides specific benefits to help injured workers recover from their injuries and return to work.
When it comes to workplace injuries, there are several misconceptions that can cloud your understanding of workers’ compensation. It is important to separate fact from fiction, so you know how to properly file a claim for workers’ compensation following an injury.
1. Only severe injuries qualify for workers’ compensation
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020, approximately 1.8 million employees received medical care in an emergency room for a work-related injury. While some of these injuries were significant, others were minor. Workers’ compensation is not just for major injuries and even minor injuries, like sprains and strains, can be eligible for benefits if they are work-related.
2. You can only file immediately after the injury
While prompt reporting is advisable, you might still be eligible for compensation if you report the injury later. Reporting procedures vary, but do not assume you are ineligible if you did not report it right away.
3. Workers’ compensation only covers medical care
The workers’ compensation system provides benefits for medical care, but other benefits are available, too. For example, benefits can cover a portion of your lost wages if you are unable to work due to the injury. Additionally, you could receive vocational rehabilitation to help you return to work.
4. You cannot receive compensation for preexisting conditions
If a preexisting condition worsens due to your job, you could be eligible for compensation. The key is proving that your work aggravated the condition beyond its preexisting state.
Even if you are unclear on all the requirements of the workers’ compensation system, notify your employer and see a doctor about your injury as soon as possible to protect your right to benefits.