Which type of benefits will you receive after a workplace injury?

If you are a member of the Massachusetts workforce, you will likely find comfort in knowing that your employer's workers' compensation insurance will cover your medical bills and lost wages if you should suffer a workplace injury.  However, you might have questions about the types of benefits that are available and how long it will take before you receive compensation. It is only natural to stress about the financial consequences of a debilitating injury, and your family's welfare if you no longer have an income.

Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance that only kicks in five months after your date of injury, workers' compensation benefits start right away. They typically pay medical bills immediately, and if your injury caused temporary or permanent disability, the wage replacement benefits will be effective within one week.

Classification of workers' compensation benefits

The compensation you will receive after suffering an injury or occupational illness will depend on the type and severity of your injury. Your ability to return to the same job will also play a role when the insurance company considers your claim for workers' compensation benefits. The following represent the different classifications for the benefits to which you may be entitled:

  • Medical only -- If the nature of your injury is such that you can return to work after medical treatment -- with no days off work -- the benefits will only cover medical expenses related to your injury.
  • Temporary disability -- Your injury or illness might be one that prevents you from returning to work until you have recovered. This will make you eligible for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. However, if you can go back to work at the same company and do another job at a lower wage until full recovery, you may qualify for temporary partial (TPD) benefits. The same will apply if you return to work to do restricted duties at a lower wage than before the injury.
  • Permanent disability -- This is the category under which you will qualify for benefits if your injury caused a permanent disability. These benefits can be either total or partial disability. PTD is permanent total disability that you will receive if you are unable to do any work after you have received all possibly medical treatment and rehabilitation. If you have suffered a permanent disability that still allows you to earn an income in a different occupation, you will receive permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.

To qualify for any benefits after a work-related injury, you must inform your employer immediately. Once you have completed the necessary forms, your employer must file your claim within a specified period. However, when it comes to claims for disabilities, the process can be challenging, and the guidance of legal counsel may increase your chances to get maximum benefits.