Major Workplace Injuries

 

         Major workplace injuries require considerations that the typical injury at work does not. All Workers’ Compensation cases are not the same. Each issue can have effects on your case and potentially your long term financial life in a major case.

 

         The first issue is one that is often overlooked and can be fatal to your Workers’ Compensation case. Many people who suffer major workplace injuries assume that they are automatically covered by Workers’ Compensation. This is NOT true. Workers’ Compensation only covers “accidents” or in back injuries “specific traumatic events.”   “Occupational diseases” are also covered. I’ve used quotes around each of these terms because each has a very specific legal definition. I can assure you that in cases that involve a major workplace injury the insurance carrier is looking for a way not to pay or to pay as little as possible. The most effective defense for the insurance company is if they can show you don’t meet one of these legal definitions to be covered.  Take this step very seriously! Consult an attorney before giving a recorded statement to the insurance company.  The purpose of that statement is to provide the insurance company with a defense.

 

         Another issue in major workplace injuries is Social Security Disability. If you are expected to be out of work for at least a year, apply for Social Security Disability immediately. You can receive Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability at the same time. If you do, it is likely that your Social Security check will be reduced. You can’t receive more than 80% of your pre-accident wages from Workers’ Compensation and Social Security combined. This reduction is called offset. The amount you receive from Social Security is just one of the benefits of being approved for Disability. It will also make you eligible for Medicare. You definitely should apply for Social Security if you suffer a major workplace injury.

        

         A later consideration in a major workplace injury is whether to settle and, if so, by what method. The whether to settle question is a surprising issue to most, but in a major case it is an issue.  If you are totally and permanently disabled from your workplace injury, you may be entitled to receive a Workers’ Compensation check equal to two-thirds of your pre-accident wages every week for the rest of your life. You could also be entitled to have all of your accident related medical treatment covered. So, you may have the option of just receiving money every week instead of ever settling the case in full.  One benefit to settling the case in full for a lump sum payment is that this method can reduce or eliminate the offset of Social Security payments if you are receiving Disability. In other words, by settling your Workers’ Compensation case the correct way, you can increase your monthly Social Security check. By considering and setting aside funds in trust for future medical bills, you can protect your future Medicare coverage in the settlement as well. This is a complicated process and includes pre-approval by Medicare of the settlement, but can be an extremely beneficial move financially in a major case.

 

         This is just a sample of the issues faced with a major workplace injury.  These cases raise issues that are not raised in most minor on the job injuries. Be sure to consult an attorney to make sure you are protected if you suffer one of these life changing events.

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