When someone gets hurt at work, there are resources in place to cover them for the injuries they suffer. These resources come from workers’ compensation insurance. You may have heard that a personal injury claim gives you access to much greater levels of compensation than workers comp and are considering that path as a result.
Unfortunately, in most cases, you cannot file a personal injury claim work-related injuries. Learn the difference between workers’ comp benefits and a personal injury claim, and how much you can recover from a compensation claim for work injuries.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance carried by most employers under the law, which exists to cover your injuries if you get hurt at work. While you cannot collect as much in benefits under worker’s comp then you could in a personal injury case, you forfeit your ability to sue your employer by accepting a job with workers’ comp coverage. This, in most cases, puts a lawsuit off the table.
What Workers’ Comp Benefits Can I Collect?
Workers’ comp benefits will pay you a certain weekly compensation to cover your lost wages and impaired ability to work. They will pay for all of your related medical bills and expenses, and for vocational rehabilitation costs. In addition, if your disability is permanent, you may be able to collect permanent impairment benefits.
You cannot collect benefits for pain and suffering, emotional damages, loss of relationships and consortium, or any other form of harm.
What Is Weekly Compensation?
Weekly compensation is intended to help you make ends meet while you are disabled. These benefits can be recovered for a limited time while you recover unless you have a permanent disability, in which case you can receive them for an unlimited time.
Weekly compensation is calculated as 70% of your average weekly wages at the time you were injured. These values also have a minimum of $15 per week, and cannot be more than $323 per week in Oklahoma.
How is Permanent Disability Determined?
If an employee is expected to continue to recover, their disability is temporary. If they have reached a state of MMI, or “Maximum Medical Improvement,” after which they are not expected to bet any better, but are still disabled, they are considered to have a permanent disability.
Total vs. Partial Disability
An employee who is totally disabled cannot work at all, in any gainful capacity. One who is partially disabled may or may not recover to their previous level, but is deemed to be capable of performing a different kind of work.
Vocational rehabilitation is, in brief, job training. It’s the costs you incur to learn to do a different kind of work if your injury prohibits you from doing your existing job.
Workers’ comp benefits cover all of your related medical expenses, from doctor’s visits to major surgery to physical rehab to medications. Keep detailed records of all of these expenses.
Getting Help from an Attorney
Many people have difficulty collecting the workers’ comp benefits they deserve. When this happens, call a qualified workers’ compensation attorney like those at Parrish DeVaughn. We have many years of experience helping people just like you seek compensation for injuries. There’s no obligation and no cost for a consult. Get in touch with us to talk about your case today!