If you injure yourself at work and are unable to return to your job, even if the insurance company accepts your claim, it is extremely likely that at some point they will try to make a case that you are able to return to work and are not entitled to benefits. If this happens you will need the experienced lawyers for workplace injuries from Pearson Koutcher Law to represent you to make sure your benefits are protected.
Workers’ compensation law contains wage-loss provisions for workers who are unable to return to any type of work. These are called total disability benefits. These benefits are based on the worker’s pre-injury wage. They can run indefinitely, but after 104 weeks your employer can require you to attend an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). At this examination, a doctor will evaluate you and provide an opinion on whether you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), which means that no further treatment will improve your condition. The doctor will also use guidelines from the American Medical Association to determine your level of disability. If the doctor finds that you are less than 35% impaired and at MMI, then the insurance company may try to convert your benefits from total disability to partial disability. If you attend an IRE and are found to be recovered or less than 35% impaired and you disagree, contact lawyers for workplace injuries Pearson Koutcher Law in order to protect your total disability benefits.
If you can return to work but at lower weekly wages than you were earning before your injury, you are entitled to partial disability benefits. These benefits will cover the difference between wages for your pre- and post-injury jobs. If your post-injury job pays as much or more than your pre-injury job, you are not entitled to partial disability benefits. These types of benefits can only be paid out for 500 weeks or about 9 ½ years. If you are on partial disability benefits but think you are entitled to total disability benefits, contact lawyers for workplace injuries at Pearson Koutcher Law.
If you are disabled from returning to work, whether it’s from a work injury or not, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. In order to qualify, you must have accumulated enough work credits over the years and have worked at least five out of the last ten years. Before applying for SSD benefits, you should contact lawyers for workplace injuries at Pearson Koutcher Law to learn how SSD benefits can impact your workers’ compensation benefits.