Most workers in New Jersey take their personal safety for granted. It is easy to ignore the risk that comes from climbing up a ladder or driving a forklift if you do that same activity every single day. Many people, even those in very dangerous professions, will finish their careers with few, if any, work-related medical issues.
However, there are others who will develop occupational illnesses and debilitating medical conditions from chemical exposure or repetitive work tasks. There are thousands of others who will get hurt in an incident such as a fall or an equipment failure. Most employees hurt on the job in New Jersey can rely on the protection of workers’ compensation.
How does workers’ compensation help those injured or sickened by their work?
1. Short-term disability benefits
If you break an arm or hurt your back, the doctor who treats you may tell you that you will fully recover, but you will need to rest for weeks before you reach that point. Workers with overexertion injuries and those who require surgery often need short-term disability benefits to replace their wages when they will be out of work for an extended amount of time but can expect to return eventually.
2. Medical coverage
Your employer may already provide you with health insurance, so you may question whether you need workers’ compensation benefits for medical treatment. However, workers’ compensation is more thorough and covers all of your care costs instead of passing some of it back to you in the form of co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about paying a monthly premium for coverage at the same time that you are out of work.
3. Long-term disability benefits
In rare cases, workers injured or sickened by their job responsibilities qualify for long-term disability benefits. Provided that there is medical documentation affirming that you cannot return to your job or that you will have to change professions, you can qualify for permanent disability benefits. Total disability benefits will replace a portion of your wages because you cannot work, well partial disability benefits can reimburse you for some of your lost earning potential when you accept a lower-paying position because of your medical condition.
The surviving family members of a worker who dies because of a job-related medical issue could also qualify for death benefits that will replace lost wages, cover medical care received prior to death and reimburse some of the costs involved in a funeral. Understanding the benefits available through workers’ compensation can help you determine if it is time to file a claim.