If you are injured at work, whether you get paid and how much depends on your state. The statutes take into account the seriousness of the injury, the extent of disability, and how long you are likely to be fully or partially unable to work. However, a few general rules do exist that can help you plan and budget. Weekly payments under a workers’ compensation claim are usually only paid if your injury is severe enough to keep you from going back to work anytime soon.
While your claim is open and in an active status, the benefits you receive vary based on your ability to return to work and whether or not you can take on light duty tasks that may be different than your regular responsibilities. For example, you might not be able to return to your job loading trucks, but you might be able to take on work at a desk temporarily. Here are some types of disability and compensation possibilities.
- Temporary total disability: If you are unable to work at all as a result of your workplace injury, you may be eligible for regular lost time benefits, if compatible with the laws in your state. The amount is usually a percentage of your rate of pay at the time of the injury; in most states, the percentage is 66 2/3. Some states include the amount that the employer pays for benefits, but others do not. Lost time benefits are usually paid twice per month may be more or less often depending on your state’s laws.
- Loss of earning power: If you can go back to work, but only to a position that pays less, you may be eligible for this type of benefit, which pays you some portion of the difference between your original earnings and the new rate of pay. However, the loss of earning power benefits are not available in every state. One example might be if you can go back to work part-time but not full time.
Once your claim is closed, also known as settled, you will probably only receive continuing benefits in these situations.
- If you are totally and permanently disabled and receiving a pension
- If you are permanently partially disabled and receiving a weekly disability payment
- If you agreed to a structured settlement
The rules around workers’ compensation claim can be complicated, and they vary widely by state. If you’re injured at work and facing a period of disability, seek the help of a competent and knowledgeable New Jersey workers compensation attorney who understands the laws.
Thanks to Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. for their insight into workers compensation and getting paid while not working from an injury.