by Bernard D. Nomberg, Partner, The Nomberg Law Firm
Every year, the Discovery Channel brings a week long special to households across the country: Shark week. Each day features programming directed towards the magnificent predators of the ocean. Whether it is the Great White, Hammerhead, or Nurse shark, chances are you will be educated on all different types during Shark week.Like the various types of sharks that inhabit the ocean, there are various types of workers’ compensation benefits and knowing what you may be entitled to can save you money in the long run.
If you are injured at work, there is a high probability that you are going to incur medical bills. Whether it be doctor visits, prescriptions, or even surgery, the costs add up. Workers’ compensation benefits can help cover the costs of medical care including the costs to identify and treat the condition or injury you may experience as a result of a workplace injury. Some benefits may even cover additional expenses such as counseling and pain therapy.
Other alternative forms of medical care such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, or energy healing may be recognized, but traditionally are not approved through workers’ compensation. If you are interested in alternative medicine, it is always best to check before incurring associated costs.
Unlike medical care costs which are designed to cover future expenses, disability is a way to cover lost expenses. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be out of work for a prolonged period of time. Without work, it can be hard to pay the bills. With disability benefits, you can be compensated for lost wages while you are out of work. There are four different types of disability benefits you may be entitled:
Temporary total disability applies when you are out of work, but will be able to return. The period may be unknown, but it is likely that you will be back after recovering from the injury.
Temporary partial disability would be awarded where you are able to complete some of your work related tasks, but may be unable to perform your job to the fullest extent. Just like temporary total disability, the effects of the injury are short in duration and it is expected you will be able to return to your normal job once the injury is healed.
Permanent total disability is given where you are never going to be able to return to your job. You might be able to still work, but you are unable to work in the same or a similar position as you did before the injury and cannot earn wages similar to what you earned when you got hurt. Permanent partial disability covers permanent injuries, but they may only partially affect your ability to work.
Permanent physical impairment (PPI) in workers’ compensation cases is when the treating physician assigns a degree of permanent impairment based on the injuries from the work-related injury.
Rehabilitation benefits generally cover the costs of physical therapy that may be needed to regain strength and coordination necessary to return back to work.
Unfortunately, there may be an instance where a workplace incident results in death. In the unlikely event a loved one dies as a result, workers’ compensation may provide for funeral and burial expenses and will likely provide financial support where the deceased was a dependent source of income.
One of the benefits an injured worker can receive in an Alabama workers’ compensation claim is reimbursement on mileage when they go to the doctor, pharmacy, physical therapist or hospital for prior approved care. Effective January 1, 2019, the mileage rate is 58 cents per mile.
This is just a general overview of some of the benefits you may receive when you are hurt at work. If you have questions about your work comp benefits, give us a call today.
Bernard D. Nomberg has been a lawyer for more than 20 years. Bernard has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. In 2018, Bernard was named a Super Lawyer for the 6th year in a row and he was recognized as one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Alabama.