When an injury at work causes a worker to be unable to do their customary job there are many very difficult decisions that need to be made. They may be able to find a different job with their skills, an employer may find a permanent light duty job, or they may be able to find other work. In many cases, however, the worker’s career is over because of the injury. You are left figuring out how to survive and support yourself and your family.
Most people in this situation have to try to piece together an early retirement through Workers’ Compensation Laws, pension or 401(k) and Social Security Disability income. Some workers have other options as well. Long-term disability insurance, Kentucky Retirement Systems, military pension, or a lawsuit arising from the accident that caused them to become disabled.
Usually a worker will not know they are unable to return to work until long after the injury happens. Most injured workers want and try to return to work. At some point, however, workers’ compensation will stop paying temporary disability benefits because the worker’s treating doctor, or a doctor hired by the insurance company states that you are at maximum medical improvement. At that point, is when together we work to ensure the financial protection of yourself and your family.
It is then the injured worker is responsible for filing and proving a case for compensation, permanent disability under the Workers’ Compensation Act and in some cases for Social Security Disability and other benefits. Sometimes, the workers’ compensation insurance company will offer a settlement, but they rarely offer a settlement representing total disability. Instead, they will offer a settlement based only on the impairment rating given by the injured worker’s doctor or the company’s examining doctor. These settlement offers can be substantially less than a total disability award, because an award for partial disability lasts only 425 weeks, or 520 weeks in cases of high impairment, whereas a total disability award under the workers’ compensation law is paid until the workers’ regular Social Security retirement age, which is 66 or older, and can also be paid at a higher rate for higher wage earners.
A worker who is receiving both workers compensation payments and Social Security Disability may be subject to a social security offset. For this reason, it is important to know the rules imposing this offset before settling a workers’ compensation case. Long-term disability insurance policies usually contain an offset for both workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability benefits as well.
Unfortunately, workers who have been injured and have been off from work for years frequently lose their union membership and don’t keep in touch with their union leadership. These are the people who need guidance the most, because the decisions they make after a career-ending injury could affect their very survival in later years.
You do not owe attorney fees unless I am able to obtain benefits and compensation on your behalf.* . Call today for a free initial consultation to discuss your work-related injury claim. To schedule yours, please contact me today. I offer flexible office hours andI can travel to meet you.
*Court costs and case expenses will be the responsibility of the Client.
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