As a worker, there are certain rights afforded to you that should not be taken for granted. You should not have to work in fear of what will happen to you if you are injured on the job, particularly as it relates to any impending medical expenses. Workers’ compensation laws have been enacted to protect the employee from any possible retaliation at the hands of the employer. At the same time, we understand that there may still be some fear or anxiety when you have been injured on the work site, so this guide is put together in the interest of informing you and educating you of your legal rights under workers’ compensation and no-fault ramifications.
Compensation for Lost Wages
When you are injured on the job, you should be able to recover at your own pace without having to worry about how you are going to make ends meet. This is why one of the provisions of workers’ compensation policies involves the payment of lost wages until such time that you are able to return to work. If you are injured in an accident at work and suffer an injury as a result, you are entitle to cash payments if you are not able to work for more than seven days.
It is important to remember that the amount of such compensation will depend on several factors, and will likely not be quite as much as your original salary. Generally speaking, employers are permitted to use a formula based on the average weekly wage of the employee over the last year to determine that amount of the weekly cash payments. You will earn 2/3 of your weekly wage multiple by the percentage of your disability. As you can see, this can leave some employees in a negative cash flow situation. If that is the case, you may qualify for no fault compensation to help make up the difference.
No Fault Benefits and Ramifications
It is important to keep in mind that any possible no fault benefits are secondary to workers compensation when you are injured in the course of performing your daily work routine. That being said, no fault benefits may be afforded to you if your actual wages exceed the maximum afforded under current workers compensation guidelines. If you are receiving twenty percent less in workers compensation benefits as a result of your injury, for example, you may very well be entitled to a further cash payment under no fault guidelines. If you enlist the assistance of a lawyer, he or she can assist with you making a determination if you are eligible for this additional protection under the law.
What About Medical Benefits
There are further ramifications to no fault insurance claims as well. As a lawsuit can delay the receipt of benefits, your are entitled to have the first $50,000 of your medical bills covered automatically. This money is meant to help you receive proper treatment for your injury. Beyond that, there is a difference in payment that will likely have an impact on the eventual outcome of your lawsuit. In other words, if you do receive a cash payment as a settlement that results from the lawsuit, you might be asked to pay a portion of those workers’ compensation back.
The exception to this would be injuries resulting from a motor accident. Such injuries occurred are exempt from being such to any liens placed on your benefits. This is a protection afforded to you under the law to ensure that you are not punished as the result of being involved in a car accident while on the job. Beyond that, any amount of compensation received in excess of the first $50,000 can, and likely will, be subject to a lien. You will want to keep that in mind. Keep in mind as well, however, that anytime your lien can be reduced is a positive development for you as that is money going back into your pocket. The best part is that liens are not subject to any fees charged by your attorney.
Contact our office for a free consultation if you have been in an injury on the job and you have questions about workers’ compensation and no fault benefits.