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What does workers' compensation include?

Most people know that workers' compensation benefits are available to workers who are injured on the job. However, few people understand what the benefits include.

Simply put, workers' compensation includes two things: Weekly checks for as long as the person cannot work and medical care until the person is cured.

The amount you will receive in the weekly checks depends on which type of benefits you qualify for. There are four types of benefits, and workers can only qualify for one type of benefit at a time, but many people qualify for different types of benefits throughout their claims. The types of benefits are:

Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD): These benefits apply to workers who are temporarily totally disabled and cannot work at all. Workers receive two-thirds of their average weekly wages at the time the accident occurred.

Supplemental Earnings Benefits (SEB): These benefits apply to workers who are no longer temporarily totally disabled but whose injury still prevents them from earning at least 90 percent of the wages that they were earning prior to the accident or illness. Workers receive two-thirds of the difference between their average weekly income before the injury and the amount that they are currently earning.

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD): These benefits afford minimum levels of payments to workers who have suffered severe, disfiguring injuries. These benefits apply even if workers do not miss a significant amount of work due to the injuries, and other benefits often kick in after these benefits run out.

Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD): These benefits are available to workers who will never be able to work in any kind of job again. Workers receive these benefits for the rest of their lives, or until they return to work. In most cases, a judge must determine that a worker is permanently and totally disabled, but there are sum severe injuries and conditions that automatically classify workers as such. A lump-sum payment may be available.

When do workers' compensation benefits kick in?

The first benefit check should be sent to the worker within two weeks of the injury being reported to the employer. Included in the check should be compensation starting from the eighth day after the injury took place.

What you need to do to reserve your right to workers' compensation benefits:

Workers' compensation benefits are not always easy to obtain, even for workers who have been injured on the job and legitimately deserve the benefits. Often times, it's because of mistakes made during the reporting or application process that employers and their insurers deny claims.

One of the most important things an injured worker should do to preserve his or her rights to compensation is to report the claim right away. That means reporting the injury or accident to management as soon as possible after it occurs.

When workers fail to do this, employers and insurers can use it as a way to deny benefits. An experienced attorney can provide more information on obtaining the workers' compensation benefits that you deserve.

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