After suffering an injury at work, your head is probably swirling with questions. You may ask yourself:
- How will I continue to pay for my family’s everyday living expenses?
- Will my medical benefits be suspended while I’m out of work?
- Can I lose my job over my work-related injury?
Fortunately, workers’ compensation insurance protects most Texas employees from going without an income due to an on-the-job injury to help pay for everyday living expenses.
Additionally, you will not lose the medical benefits provided by your employer while you’re out of work recovering from your injury and it is highly illegal for your employer to fire you for suffering an injury at work.
There are several benefits that workers’ compensation provides, including:
- Medical benefits
- Lost wages
- Travel expenses
- Permanent disability
- Supplemental benefits
- Death benefits
You may not qualify for all of the aforementioned benefits, but you should be able to get the ones you need. Here’s what you should know:
As long as your injury is work-related, your employer’s workers’ compensation provider is required to pay these benefits to the physician or facility that provides your medical care.
If your claim is part of a healthcare network, you are required to seek care from a physician in that network. Unless you get approval to do so before seeking care, you may be required to pay for your own treatment if you seek care from a doctor that is out of network.
If you aren’t covered by a network, you are within your rights to pick your own physician. Check this list to make sure the doctor you intend to seek care from is not barred from providing workers’ compensation medical care.
As long as the care you receive is reasonable and necessary, there are no time limits on how long you can receive treatment.
Referred to as income benefits, this compensation is designed to supplement some of the money you lose as a result of your work-related injury or illness. There are several types of income benefits, including:
- Temporary income benefits (TIBs)
- Impairment income benefits (IIBs)
- Supplemental income benefits (SIBs)
- Lifetime income benefits (LIBs)
Be sure to save all receipts related to travel expenses you incur due to your on-the-job injury. You have the right to recover any money you spend on transportation going to and from medical appointments. You may be required to fill out a form (DWC048) in order to recover these costs.
If your whole body is impacted by your injury, you will be issued an impairment rating by a healthcare provider and you can receive impairment income benefits (IIBs). This rating is based on the percentage of permanent damage your body has endured (known as an impairment rating—IR). Your IR will be assessed once you reach a maximum medical improvement (MMI) which is when you’ve healed as much as you can after treatment.
If you qualify, you’ll receive three weeks of IIBs for each percentage of impairment.
You’ll receive supplemental income benefits (SIBs) monthly by the insurance provider once your IIBs have concluded. In order to qualify for SIBs, you must:
- Have an impairment rating of 15% or higher,
- Haven’t gone back to work. If you did, you must’ve earned less than 80% of your weekly average earnings in your position as a result of your injury,
- Prove that you are trying to find work, and
- Not accept a lump sum payment for your injury.
If you lose your life as a result of a work-related injury or illness, death benefits will be paid to your family. These benefits can go to:
- Your spouse,
- Minor children,
- Children younger than 25 years old who are going to an accredited college or university,
- Dependent grandchildren,
- Other dependent family members, or
- Non-dependent parents (if there are no surviving eligible dependent family members).
If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Our attorneys can help you maximize your benefits so that you receive the highest possible compensation. Don’t delay—contact us right away to see how we can help.
Contact our office by calling (361) 541-6333 or by filling out the online contact form.