Workers’ compensation is an important protection for employees in most careers and jobs all over the nation. When someone gets hurt in the workplace while doing their job, they’re covered. They can get paid for their medical bills, and even part of their lost wages when they are unable to work. It’s a no-fault system, which means it doesn’t matter who caused the accident or how in most cases.
One question that often comes up, however, is what happens when the injury is severe enough that you can’t hold down your previous job to the level you once could, but you’re not completely disabled? Can you still work while you’re on workers’ comp? Learn about working while you are receiving workers’ compensation, and when you might need help from a workers’ compensation lawyer to get your benefits.
Working While on Workers’ Comp
Workers’ compensation, also called worker’s comp, workers’ comp, and workman’s compensation, among other terms, exists to help you make ends meet while you’re dealing with an injury you got on the job. With certain exceptions, this includes those who are limited in function, but still able to perform some part-time work.
In general, when you perform work while receiving worker’s compensation, you will need to report any income you receive to the workers’ comp provider. The benefits you receive will then be reduced accordingly. So if you’re receiving $500 per week in worker’s compensation, and you’re able to work part-time at a job that pays you $200 per week, your worker’s comp benefits may be reduced to $300 per week.
What Does Workers’ Comp Cover?
Workers’ compensation is in place to cover you while you work to get better from your work-related injury. It is designed to pay for your medical bills, including doctor visits, physical therapy, rehabilitation, medication, surgical procedures and other doctor and healthcare costs. It also provides disability benefits designed to allow you to recoup some of the money you lose from not being able to work.
In Alabama, almost all types of employers are required to carry workers’ compensation. The disability benefits you receive if you are not in one of the few exempt occupations will be no more than two-thirds your average weekly salary, with a maximum of $843 per week. This is assuming you are totally disabled and unable to work. Again, if you work part-time, your benefits will be lowered accordingly.
If you are disabled on a permanent basis (your doctor must certify this, and a permanent disability must be total), you will continue to receive these weekly payments for life. If you are still able to do some other form of a job, sometimes worker’s comp can help to pay for re-training for a new career or work. This is called vocational rehabilitation.
Permanent Partial Disability
If your disability is permanent but only partial, you may gain additional benefits. Scheduled awards for disabilities of certain body parts (feet, hands, legs, arms, ears, and eyes) allow a benefit of two-thirds of average weekly wages but may be capped at a lower level. This particular provision, however, is under review by the state legislature after being ruled unconstitutional.
If your injured body part isn’t on the list above, you can receive unscheduled awards which are capped at $220 per week and limited to 300 weeks total, minus any weeks you’ve already received awards.
Workers’ Comp Refusals
The workers’ compensation system is very complex, and far too many people who apply for benefits find themselves denied the coverage they need. This could be due to the employer’s failure to properly report the incident. It could be due to the employee making an error in their report. It can also be simply because the insurance company is overzealous in looking for fraud.
Insurance companies are always eager to avoid paying out large claims, as it costs them money and profits. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for people who need workers’ compensation to be denied their application. That doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road, however. You can still challenge the denial with help.
Call a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If your claim is refused, or your benefits unfairly canceled, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you challenge the denial and get the benefits you need. The right workers’ compensation attorney knows how to gather the evidence to support your case and prove that you need and deserve these benefits. For years, we at Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys have helped Alabama residents get the compensation they need, and we may be able to help you. Give us a call for a consultation today.