The benefits of workers' compensation insurance

People who suffer injuries or illnesses on the job may be eligible for benefits under the Pennsylvania workers' compensation law. These benefits may include wage-loss payments, medical care coverage, specific loss benefits and compensation for death.

Employees may receive wage-loss benefits for work-related injuries in the event that a physician determines that their injuries are disabling and that they cannot work. A worker's disability, in this sense, can be either partial or total. Workers are partially disabled if they are unable to meet the requirements of their full work schedule and are earning less than before they were injured. Workers who prove to be at least 50 percent impaired according to the standards set forth by the American Medical Association may be considered totally disabled.

The payments for wage loss amount to about two-thirds of the average weekly wage that the injured workers were making prior to their injury. Depending on their injury, it is possible for workers to also receive partial disability benefits, total disability benefits or both.

In addition, medical care costs might be covered under workers' compensation, including hospital treatment, medical supplies, prosthetics, orthopedics and prescriptions. Payments for the permanent loss of a limb, hearing or sight might also be awarded as specific loss benefits. The same holds true for permanent disfigurement of the neck, head or face.

Some workers may be entitled to additional disability benefits through Social Security. Furthermore, if an employee dies in a work-related accident, the worker's dependents may receive death benefits, such as payments for the bereaved family's loss of household income.

Hypothetically, if an employee were to be burned during a work accident, the individual could suffer permanent disfigurement and be unable to work for a long period of time. The worker might receive benefits to cover lost wages, medical bills and specific loss damages. Partial disability benefits would also be awarded if a physician were to deem the individual impaired.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry , "What are the benefits?", September 27, 2014

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