Workers' Comp Benefits: How Injured Do I Have to Be?
Workers' compensation is the name given to state and federal programs under which workers who are injured on the job can recover for the costs associated with their injuries, including medical bills and lost wages.
To qualify for coverage under workers' compensation insurance, an injury must be work-related. These injuries can include both physical injuries, such as broken bones or carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as mental or emotional injuries such as depression.
But how serious does an injury have to be in order to qualify for workers' compensation benefits?
'Serious' Injury Not Required
Generally, there is no specific level of injury required in order for an employee to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. Rather, any time an injury occurs that is employment-related, that injury should be submitted to a company's workers compensation insurance carrier.
That being said, the amount of any benefits received for a work-related injury can depend, not necessarily on the severity of the injury, but rather the medical treatment required and the effect the injury has on the employee's ability to work.
Workers' Compensation Benefits
Workers' compensation programs vary from state to state. Generally, workers' compensation benefits include compensation for:
- Medical care,
- Replacement income,
- Permanent injuries,
- Retraining or rehabilitation, and
- Survivor benefits
Workers' compensation benefits will also typically cover lost wages of a worker even when that worker is able to continue working part-time following an injury.
Fear of reprisals or harassment may prevent some workers from reporting a workplace injury. A 2013 FindLaw survey found that nearly 10% of workers decided not to report a workplace injury due to fear of retaliation. However, employers are prohibited under both federal and state law from firing, harassing, or retaliating against workers who file workers' compensation claims.
Learn more about a worker's legal rights following an employment related injury at FindLaw's Learn About the Law section on Workers' Compensation.
- Hurt on the job? Have your injury claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Workers' Comp or Disability for Workplace Injuries? (FindLaw's Injured)
- Denied Workers' Comp? 5 First Steps to Appeal (FindLaw's Injured)
- Can You Still Get Workers' Comp If You Were at Fault? (FindLaw's Injured)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.