For many people, work injuries are a temporary hardship. They break their leg and need two or three months off of work to heal and then recover the strength and flexibility in the affected limb. They cut themselves and only miss half of a day because they need stitches, but they return to work the next day.
These employees can count on workers’ compensation to replace their wages while they are off of work through temporary disability benefits. They can also count on workers’ compensation insurance covering all of their necessary medical treatment. Their claims will end when they fully recover and get back to work.
What happens if a workplace injury causes permanent symptoms?
You may need lasting benefits
If you have an injury like a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury or amputation, you will never fully recover. There will be lifelong medical and workplace consequences of those injuries. Workers’ compensation covers permanent injuries as well as temporary medical conditions. There are permanent total disability benefits that can help those with injuries so severe that they can never return to any sort of work.
There are also permanent partial disability benefits for those who have to change professions and lose income as a result. For example, a factory worker who loses their hand in an accident won’t be able to continue a highly demanding physical profession. They may need to move into another industry, like customer service, where their wages will be lower. Permanent partial disability benefits help workers in that difficult situation.
Although major medical coverage may end when a worker achieves maximum medical improvement for their condition, certain ongoing benefits, like coverage for occupational therapy or pain management, may still be available.
How do you prove you have a permanent injury?
To get permanent benefits, you will need medical documentation. In fact, you may have to undergo a special evaluation to verify that you truly cannot work and require permanent benefits. While there may be more red tape involved for long-term or permanent benefit claims, a successful claim can drastically reduce the hardship you and your family will experience because of your medical condition.
Learning more about how Pennsylvania workers’ compensation operates can help you connect with the right support after an injury at work.