How Long Can You Be On Workers' Comp?
Workers’ compensation insurance helps cover employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness. Some expenses it helps cover include:
- Medical care
- Partial wages lost from time off work to recover
- Ongoing treatment and care
- Funeral costs
Workers’ compensation also helps cover a deceased worker’s family with a financial benefit as well. Covering expenses like these not only helps protect your employees, but also your business. For instance, say an employee breaks their leg while working and your business doesn’t have workers’ compensation coverage. In cases like these, your employees may hire workers’ compensation attorneys and file lawsuits against you. As a result, you may have to pay the medical expenses associated with the injury out of pocket. This can have devastating financial consequences for your business.
As a business owner, remember that your workers’ comp coverage isn’t responsible for covering an employee’s personal injury. You won’t have to file any workers’ comp claims for injuries employees sustain on their own away from work.
The length of workers’ compensation benefits can vary state by state. This variation often depends on the type of workers disability an employee receives. The types of workers disability are:
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability
- Full or partial disability
Some states limit the length of time an injured worker can receive temporary benefits. This range can be three to seven years. That said, there is not usually a limit on permanent disability benefits. However, some states do stop weekly benefits when employees reach the age of 65. Also keep in mind that not all states will provide permanent partial disability benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Disability
There are two different ways disability benefits get classified. These are:
- Temporary or permanent benefits
- Total or partial benefits
This classification of disability benefits varies from state to state. It’s important to remember that your disability benefits are determined by your healthcare provider.
The four types of disability are:
- Temporary total disability. This type of disability is granted when injured workers are too sick or ill to work regularly but their injury isn’t permanent. For example, say you own a construction company and an employee throws out their back. After seeing a doctor, it’s determined that they only need a month of recovery before they’re back to new.
- Temporary partial disability. This type of disability is granted when a worker sustains an injury that still allows them to perform some work tasks. For example, say you have an employee who slipped while mopping and broke their leg. In this scenario, returning to work is an option. Although, they will only be able to perform certain duties while their leg heals.
- Permanent total disability. This type of disability is granted when a worker is unable to work after sustaining a permanent injury. For example, say you own a construction company and an employee sustains an injury that causes them to lose the ability to use of one of their limbs.
- Permanent partial disability. This type of disability can be caused by an injury that is permanent and may impair their ability to work in some instances. For example, say an employee damages their knee on the job. This affects their ability to walk but they can still perform other tasks.
Workers’ Compensation Disability Rating Scale Helps Answer ‘How Long Can You Be on Workers’ Comp?’
Independent professionals complete all medical impairment ratings. These professionals’ complete ratings in an appointment called the Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). To some this is better known as a disability rating scale.
The rating uses a percentage scale that goes from 0 to 100. This percentage scale determines the level of impairment a worker has. It also helps keep the worker, employer and workers’ compensation insurer on the same page. Everyone needs to understand how badly the worker was injured on the job. They also need to understand how much that injury will affect their work. Higher ratings indicate more impairment and a more disabled worker.
IRE’s occur after:
- A worker has already received 104 weeks of workers’ comp benefits for an injury
- The injury gets recorded as permanent
- The injured worker has reached a maximum medical improvement
This rating is important because it helps determine if the workers can return to work. For example, partially disabled workers often receive lower ratings. This means they can return to work eventually. The rating also helps injured workers apply for benefits. That said every state is different and follows a different impairment guide.
Workers’ Compensation Disability Settlement
The results of the medical impairment rating determine the benefits an injured worker may be eligible for. This includes:
- How long a person might get benefits
- How much compensation a person might receive
- Whether they plan to return to work or not
The types of settlements, depends on the classification of the injured workers’ disability. This can vary state to state.
For example, say you have an employee who slips, falls and breaks their ankle. After seeing a medical professional, it’s determined that they have a temporary partial disability. This gives them a rating of below 50 percent. Ratings below 50 percent indicate that benefits are limited.1
In another example, say you have an employee that suffers a severe back injury. After seeing a medical professional, it’s determined that they have a permanent total disability. This gives them a rating of above 50 percent. Ratings above 50 percent can indicate that your employee will receive permanent benefits.2
Finding the right workers’ compensation insurance company doesn’t have to be difficult. At The Hartford, we offer comprehensive coverage to help protect your employees and your business. To learn more about workers’ compensation from The Hartford, get a quote today by calling 1-855-829-1683.