After being injured on the job, you should be compensated thoroughly. In most cases, state workers compensation programs will cover your workplace injury-related medical costs while providing at least a percentage of your salary, but if you're dealing with hardship even before the injury, is that really enough? Here are a few workers compensation points to consider before signing away your rights and moving on with business as usual--whether you're healthy enough to move on or not.
Are You Getting Your Full Benefits?
The point of workers compensation is to make sure that you don't suffer additional hardships as a result of the injury. Your medical bills shouldn't be your problem, and you shouldn't be missing rent, falling behind on bills, or unable to live your life normally because of the injury.
There are a few situations where you need to stop what you're doing and contact a lawyer immediately. Although medical bills may arrive at your mailbox, they should be paid off within a month or two. If you get even a single collections call or nagging question about paying your medical bill, don't argue; call a work injury lawyer and let them handle it.
If your original paycheck was barely making ends meet, don't assume that you need to suffer even more. There are hardship programs in most states to help you take care of your bills, while some states will give you a special version of (or faster acceptance to) Electronic Benefits Transfer/Food Stamps and welfare. Some states change the name to protect egos of people who don't want to be seen on such support programs, but for the most part, it's money that should be used in situations like yours anyway.
Is The Injury Truly Temporary?
How can you be sure that your injury is temporary? Some issues such as concussions, broken bones, pulled muscles, or burns can lead to a full recovery that has no noticeable effect, but what happens if you stress the same injury while doing something else?
There are a few social and psychological problems that can lead to you moving on while you still have an injury. You may feel better and assume that the slight pain will wear off over time, or you may feel that it's a person's responsibility to grit their teeth and work hard through adversity.
Before even debating the ins and outs of those points, remember that the injury isn't your fault. It's not fair to yourself and other works that you continue to deal with a problem that was caused by someone else, whether it's another employee, the employer, or a vendor who sold faulty equipment.
Just in case, make sure that all of your medical information is thoroughly documented and ready to send to any future support program. You don't have to demand compensation now; it's fine to take a "wait and see" approach as long as you have legal documentation showing that your problem happened as a result of workplace injury, and that future problems are connected.
Contact a work injury lawyer, like Gerald Lutkenhaus, to discuss the paperwork needed and possible future compensation for your injury, or to get connected to disability or personal injury compensation plans while you recover on workers compensation.