Monday Workers’ Compensation Q&A: My employer paid my salary, do I still have to file a claim?

Today’s post comes from guest author Matthew Funk from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

QUESTION: MY EMPLOYER PAID MY SALARY WHILE I WAS INJURED AND OUT OF WORK. DO I STILL HAVE TO FILE A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM?

ANSWER: THERE IS MORE TO A CLAIM THEN PAYMENT WHILE OUT OF WORK ?

Joe’s boss, Mike was a great guy. In fact, when Joe got badly hurt at work and was out for weeks, Mike paid Joe’s salary every week. When Joe got back to work, he hesitated filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim. After all, Mike had paid his salary the weeks he was out. And Joe didn’t want to appear ungrateful or greedy. What should he do?

File, Joe!! File!!!

If Mike drew Joe’s salary paid from Joe’s accrued sick or vacation time, Joe would not get that time back unless he filed a claim. That means the eight weeks of vacation and sick time Joe had coming to him had been put toward the time he spent recuperating at home. Unless Joe submitted a claim, he’d have to start from scratch to build up vacation and sick time.

“Aside from the monetary award, there is lifetime medical coverage for a Workers’ Compensation Claim.”

The payment of wages is only a small portion of a Workers’ Compensation Claim and NOT the only thing Joe is entitled to. In an earlier column, an injured worker can make a claim for a schedule loss of use if an extremity is injured even if salary was paid.

More importantly, as also stated in previous columns, nobody has a crystal ball of what the future looks like. It is always possible that a minor injury might turn out to be a major injury and one that permanently prevents a return to work two years from the date of injury. Since you never know what the future brings it is essential to file that claim for benefits.

Last but not least, aside from the monetary award, there is lifetime medical coverage for a Workers’ Compensation Claim. Although Joe may have lost only four weeks from work, he may need a year of physical therapy to keep him working. If Joe does not file a claim there is no guarantee that a private health care provider will pay for the therapy.

It is always best to file a claim to make sure that all rights are protected no matter what the scenarios is. Remember, it is costs nothing to file a claim but the savings that a worker can get over the course of a case are priceless.