It is not rare occurrences for workers in various industries to suffer on-the-job injuries that leave them with permanent disabilities. A significant number of Pennsylvania workers seek financial support through the state-regulated workers' compensation insurance system each year for disabilities that prevent their return to previous jobs. The program offers benefits that will replace a percentage of the lost wages during the time that a work-related disability prevents you from working.
The workers' compensation program pays all the medical expenses for job-related injuries immediately. Injuries with lasting consequences form four different categories and payment procedures. It pays benefits for temporary disability after three to seven days, and if your injury causes permanent partial or total disability, long-term benefits will apply.
Classification of disabilities
Disabilities can be permanent or temporary, and they can be partial or total. The following will give you an idea of the compensation you could expect if you suffer a debilitating workplace injury:
- Temporary partial disability: If you fracture an arm or a leg, your disability will only last until it heals. During that time, you could perform other duties, and if this pays a lower wage, the workers' comp benefits will make up a percentage of the difference.
- Temporary total disability: If the nature of your injury prevents you from performing any work, such as a back injury that takes six weeks to heal, you will receive a percentage of your average weekly wage.
- Permanent partial disability: If your injury causes a permanent disability that still allows you to work but at a lower wage, such as hearing loss, the category of the disability will determine the benefits you receive. Scheduled injuries include the loss of an eye, hand, fingers and other body parts, and payment for nonscheduled injuries depend on state laws.
- Permanent total disability: If you suffer an injury that prevents you from ever returning to the same type of work, you might qualify for workers' compensation benefits equal to a percentage of your average wage per week for the rest of your life. Depending on state laws, payments might cease when you reach retirement age.
You can get answers to your questions about workers' compensation from an experienced Pennsylvania attorney who can also explain the possibility of seeking vocational rehabilitation benefits. This will provide the opportunity to learn new skills that will allow you to start a new career that will accommodate your disability.