After two years on the job without a single accident, you finally get hurt at work. It's fairly serious -- not life-threatening -- but you end up in the hospital. You spend two nights and then get to go home.
Even though you're home, you are nowhere near recovered yet. The doctor tells you that you won't be able to go back to work for six months. Your body needs time to heal.
Naturally, you start thinking about income, your budget and those medical bills. And that leads you to workers' compensation. But what exactly is that going to cover for you? Here are the five main areas:
1. Medical expenses
You should not have to cover your medical bills on your own. Any necessary treatment, from the ride in the ambulance to the nights spent in the medical center, should be covered. The same is true for more long-term medical costs, like follow-up visits and medications.
2. Rehabilitation costs
Some injuries require you to go to physical rehabilitation sessions. This is a medical expense but it's necessary because rehab services help return you to the level of health, fitness and ability that you enjoyed before the injury. As such, these costs also be covered by workers' comp.
3. Funeral expenses
This does not matter in your case, but it's important to note all the same. When a worker passes away on the job, the workers' comp insurance can pay for the cost of the worker's final expenses, burial services, etc.
4. Monetary payments
While you are out of work, you can't make ends meet. A portion of the money you would have earned can be paid out through workers' comp. This helps you keep food on the table and pay the mortgage. However, you should note that employees do not get 100 percent of their wages.
5. Death benefits
Again, since you survived, you don't have to worry about this one. However, dependents and spouses of workers who pass away in job-related accidents may get a payout to cover the breadwinner's lost income.
As you can see, you are not alone after an injury. The whole thing can feel overwhelming and frustrating, but you do have options and financial protection. Make sure you know what steps you need to take.