If a worker is injured in the course of his or her employment, the sole remedy to recover for damages suffered as a result of this injury is through Worker’s Compensation process. This means injured workers cannot file lawsuits in a civil court. Workers are entitled to recover (1) certain wage loss benefits; (2) the cost of medical treatment that is related to the on-the-job injury; and (3) certain rehabilitation services. The injured worker cannot collect for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and any damages a jury might award.
Employers are required to arrange for the payment of workers’ compensation benefits. This can be accomplished by purchasing insurance through a commercial insurance carrier or by obtaining approved self-insured status. The worker’s right to medical benefits are not limited in terms of either cost or the duration of the benefits. However, the care that is provided must be reasonable and there are limits on what a health care provider may charge for the services provided.
If a worker suffers an on-the-job injury, the worker is entitled to wage loss benefits. The employer needs to be notified of the injury to initiate the benefits process. The worker may start receiving benefits the second week after the injury. If the disability extends past the second week, the worker will receive benefits for the first week as well. Benefits are paid at the rate of 80% of the after-tax value of the worker’s average weekly wage. The worker’s right to disability benefits is indefinite, potentially for the rest of his life, as long as the disability is related to his on-the-job injury.
There are benefits available to the survivors of injured workers. Certain occupational diseases and special types of disabilities qualify an injured worker for benefits. The key factor though is the injury needs to arise out of and in the course of employment.