Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Call a Skilled Vermont Workers' Compensation Attorney
If you've suffered a job-related injury, do you know what workers' compensation benefits you're eligible to receive? Your employer and its insurance company might not care if you are in the dark. The Law Office of Charles L. Powell can shed some light on what your rights are under the law. If your case has been denied, or if you have received a "low ball" settlement offer, if you are unsure what exactly you should expect from the insurer, the Law Office of Charles L. Powell can help you to personally understand the insurer’s obligations to you, and is prepared to represent you and pursue for you the full scope of benefits owed.
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Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
When you are injured on the job, you are eligible to receive certain benefits. In Vermont, following benefits are offered:
- Do You Need Income? -- If you miss more than 3 calendar days of work, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company will begin to pay you 2/3rd of your gross weekly wages. The weekly checks (called “Temporary Total Disability benefits”) continue to be sent to you until you either reach your maximum medical improvement in recovery from the work injury or you have returned to work, whichever occurs first.
- Do You Need Health Care? -- You are also eligible for health insurance for medical care (called “Medical Expense benefits”). When you see a doctor for your injury or illness, the insurance company pays that bill. In some cases, the insurer must pay for reasonable and necessary accommodations and modifications to residences and vehicles.
There are other benefits you may be eligible to receive:
- Do You Need Job Services? – if you are unable to return to the job for which you have experience or training, this benefit (called “Vocational Rehabilitation benefits”) can help you get training, job interviews and other services paid by the insurer to help you become competitive for a suitable new job that pays as close as possible to what you were earning.
- Do You Need Reimbursements? – the mileage to attend medical appointments or independent medical exams or vocational rehabilitation meetings is reimbursed to you by the workers’ compensation insurer. In appropriate cases, the insurer must offer transportation when you have no transportation. In some cases, a meals reimbursement also applies. Any out of pocket costs for medicines are reimbursed, and if you are going to need prescriptions for several months the insurer must set up a plan so you don’t have to pay out of pocket or seek reimbursement.
Do You Suffer Permanent Injury? – if you have reached the point in your medical recovery where you
are “as good as you’re going to get,” and if your injury
leaves you with permanent change, you may qualify for one of two benefits:
- Is Your Permanent Injury Partial? -- if it qualifies under the American Medical Association Guidebook, this benefit (called “Permanent Partial Disability benefits”) pays additional weekly checks depending on the amount of permanent change. How many weeks? The Vermont Department of Labor uses a formula to determine the number of weeks of additional checks. For impairment from an injury to the spine, the formula is multiplying 550 weeks x the % of permanent change; so, for example if the doctor rates the change as 10% of the body, that formula is applied by 550 weeks x 10% = 55 weeks of checks. Then you apply your weekly compensate rate. If your weekly compensation rate is $450.00/wk., then $450.00/wk. x 55 weeks = $24,750.00 to be paid in Permanent Partial Disability benefits. (For injuries not of the spine, it is the same formula but using 405 weeks not 550).
- Is Your Permanent Injury Total? -- if it permanently totally prevents you from returning to any regular, competitive, paid employment, weekly disability checks continue indefinitely (called “Permanent Total Disability benefits”) – and 330 weeks’ worth of checks can be paid up front. (More Info? See our extended discussion on this website under Permanent Disability Claims)
- Is Your Loved One’s Injury Fatal? -- if the injury causes death, the family of an employee who did not survive a workers’ comp injury is eligible for payments (called “Death” benefits).
Once you start receiving benefits, it is generally very important to be prepared to respond to the insurance company’s requests, even if it means filing reasonable objections to inappropriate actions by the insurer. It is also generally very important to be an excellent communicator with your treating provider so that the reality of your participation in treatment is known as “proactive” and to stay in compliance with your provider’s plan of treatment and any medical restrictions in effect.
We're Ready to Help
Wading through the paperwork that is generated by a workers’ compensation claim can be overwhelming. The Law Office of Charles L. Powell PLLC has 33 years of experience injury litigation and is prepared to guide and advise you how to properly comply with all obligations in the workers' compensation process.
Don't hesitate to secure the legal guidance you need to face this intimidating process. Call us at (802) 731-0154 today.