We continue our series this week on “Paying Bills After an Injury” by discussing workers’ compensation benefits.
Our last post in this serious gave an overview of the “no fault” workers’ compensation system. This week we provide more information about the workers’ compensation benefits available to injured truckers.
Professional truck drivers who are injured and cannot continue driving a truck face a potentially devastating loss of income, along with the medical bills and financial burden that come along with serious personal injuries. Workers’ compensation laws compensate injured truckers for these financial hardships. The workers’ compensation benefits available to injured truckers differ depending on the applicable state law.
In most states, there are four kinds of workers’ compensation benefits available to injured truckers.
Your employer should pay for all of the medical care necessary to treat your injury. In some states (such as Illinois), you have the right to choose your own doctor. In other states (such as Missouri), your employer has the right to choose your doctor. In upcoming posts, we will discuss the hardship faced by many truckers who are forced to travel to be treated by company doctors.
TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY PAYMENTS (TTD)
Your employer should pay you some percentage of your average weekly wage (often 66%), up to a maximum cap, during the time that you are disabled from employment. These benefits are often referred to as temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. Employers often do not pay these benefits, or cut off the benefits too early.
PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY PAYMENT
If you have a permanent injury because of your work related accident, you are entitled to receive a lump sum disability payment. The amount of the permanent disability payment depends on your injury/impairment rating and your average weekly wage. Employers often understate the lump sum payment by claiming an unreasonably low impairment rating, or they refuse to make any partial disability payment at all.
PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY PAYMENTS
If you have a permanent injury because of your work related accident that leaves you totally disabled and unable to work, you are entitled to receive monthly permanent disability payments for the rest of your life. The amount of the permanent disability payment depends on your average weekly wage.
Unfortunately, employers and workers’ compensation insurance adjuster’s often deny valid claims, or cut off medical benefits or TTD too soon, or claim that the trucker is not permanently disabled when in fact the trucker is permanently disabled. Insurance adjusters have countless excuses for denying valid claims, and we have heard them all.
Even when the adjuster agrees to a disability payment, the payment is almost always based on a biased injury rating by a company doctor, which results in a proposed disability payment to the trucker that is way too low. If this is the case, you need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney experienced in representing truckers.
Reach out to us any time. In addition to representing you in your workers’ compensation or personal injury lawsuit, we will discuss the options available to you to pay bills and get medical care during the legal process. We have been representing injured truckers for 40 years. We understand the hardships faced by injured truckers, and we help truckers face these challenges.
Next in our series we will discuss disability insurance as a means to to pay your bills. Before then, let us know in the comments area below, or on Facebook or Twitter, any questions you have on Personal Injury for professional Truckers or Workers’ Compensation for Professional Truckers.