The first time you are hurt on the job, and you need time to heal before you can return to work, you may be eligible for workers' compensation. But like many other people who are filing for workers' compensation for the first time, you may have a few misunderstandings about this benefit. The following are among the most common.
1. You are not suing your employer
Many people hesitate to file for benefits because they like their employer and think that they are effectively suing them because the benefits are being paid by their employer. However, this is simply not what is happening. Workers' compensation is a form of employer, mandated insurance. The purpose of these policies is to prevent lawsuits against businesses from employees. When you file a claim for workers' compensation, it is no different than filing a claim with an auto insurance company after an accident.
2. There is no time limit for collecting benefits
Workers' compensation is not like collecting unemployment. This latter form of insurance is to help workers during a time when they are looking for a new job. It is run by the government, and it is not meant to take the place of a job. Therefore, there are time limits placed on how long you can receive these benefits. Workers' compensation is meant to replace a portion of your income while you heal from your injuries. Every injury is different, so there is no specific time to return to work. Your doctor will determine when you are ready to go back to your job.
3. You will not lose your job
When you file for workers' compensation, there is sometimes a fear that you will lose your job. Maybe if you miss a few days of work and then return, everything will be all right. But if you miss several weeks, your employer will probably replace you. However, you cannot lose your job because you were hurt on the job. There are laws protecting your employment. Once you have healed and are ready to return to work, your employer must take you back and do so at the same rate of pay.
Once you have been approved for benefits, it is possible to lose them if it is determined that you have exaggerated your claims of injury. This can happen if you were seen doing something that is inconsistent with your injury. For this reason, you should always follow your doctor's instructions for the physical activities that are allowed during your rehabilitation. If you run into any problems before or after filing for workers' compensation, there are workers' compensation attorneys who have a lot of experience in this area of law.