With some workplace injuries, you need more than a week or even a month to recover. During that time, you’re unable to work, but that certainly doesn’t mean the bills stop coming in. You need to navigate the workers’ compensation field carefully to stand the best chance of receiving the medical and financial help necessary to get back on track and adjust to your new life.
Determine Your Eligibility for Long-Term Disability
The first hurdle you’ll need to clear is proving beyond a shadow of the doubt that your long-term injury was sustained on your job, which can include running an errand for your employer when you became injured. You also have to show that your workplace injury is so severe that you are either disabled or impaired. Finally, your injury has to eliminate the possibility of you going back to work in your usual position, or a doctor has placed limitations on what you can and cannot do at work.
Work With a Workers Compensation Professional
With workplace injuries, it’s important to bear in mind that they aren’t the same as personal injuries. If you were hurt at work, the employer is always liable. That said, that liability goes out the window if you hurt yourself on purpose, were using illicit substances when you were injured on the clock, or you were in violation of company policy when you sustained your injury.
Even though you don’t bear the burden of proof, it’s still best to work with a law firm that specializes in workers compensation. There’s a lot of paperwork and documentation involved in long-term benefits, and your focus needs to be on making a full recovery rather than stressing out about deadlines, paperwork, and the like.
Consider Social Security Disability
With long-term injuries, there’s a chance you’ll qualify for both workers compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance. The reason it’s good to look into both is that workers’ comp is designed to be temporary. It could be that healing from a long-term injury takes longer than your workers’ comp will last, leaving you without an income. It’s good to apply for workers compensation and SSD Benefits at the same time, mainly because it can take a while to see whether your SSD application is approved. With SSD, one of the most essential items to consider is that you need to fit the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled, which is another reason to work with an attorney.
Retool Your Budget
Even if you receive both workers compensation and SSD, it’s still a good idea to compare your benefits to your current budget. You may not have the same amount of money coming in as you did before your injury, or you may have additional expenses due to your injury to add to your budget. Now is also a great time to trim as much unnecessary spending from your budget as necessary, especially because your injury may keep you from indulging in the same pastimes and activities you used to before.
Patience and being well-informed are key when it comes to receiving compensation for your injuries. Know your rights, and leave the heavy lifting to the legal and medical pros to have the best outcome.