Whether you are an electrician who works in construction or a service professional who has spent two decades at the same fine dining establishment, your physical health is a big part of your ability to do your job.
While the work you perform does require mental focus and education, it is also demanding of your body. If you hurt your back on the job, either in a traumatic incident like a fall or due to repeated heavy lifting, you may have chronic pain and lasting limitations on the kind of work you can do.
What are your rights when a work-related back injury leaves you unable to keep doing the job you have turned into a career?
Workers’ compensation protects you from diminished earning potential
Workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t just provide health coverage. The state also provides disability benefits for those who must take a short-term leave of absence because of an injury or illness and for those who are permanently unable to work because of their medical conditions.
Workers’ compensation provides permanent and temporary disability benefits in a range of amounts. Workers who are unable to do any job at all because of the severity of their back injury may qualify for permanent total disability benefits.
Those who can still work but who cannot do the same job as before may qualify for permanent partial disability benefits that help cover some of the difference in their earning potential. These benefits may not fully replace your on earned wages, but they can make the long-term financial impact of your back injury less severe.
Who determines if your back injury is severe enough for long-term benefits?
Medical records will be a part of any long-term disability benefits claim. Under the Virginia workers’ compensation system, the doctor managing care for the case will generally be the one who can make the decision about whether or not you can return to work.
You may also have to undergo an extensive evaluation to determine the severity of a long-term injury and its impact on your functions, usually expressed as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the greater the impact and the more you may be able to receive in disability benefits.
Learning about your right to benefits and how workers’ compensation functions will make the claim process easier for you.