Workers Compensation Benefits and Returning to Work
In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation helps compensate injured workers hurt through on-the-job accidents. It is essentially a no-fault measure for resolving workplace injury claims, as injured workers are paid for their lost wages and medical expenses in exchange for giving up their right to sue their employer for damages. The main purpose is to help employers and employees alike by making sure than injured workers have a way to maintain a certain standard of living while they recover from their injuries, and to provide a reintegration process after recovery.
Most people understand that they may be eligible for benefits if they cannot work (i.e. temporary total disability payments), but workers’ compensation also helps injured workers when they return to work. Through temporary partial disability benefits, those who cannot earn the same wages they earned before their injury can be compensated for the money they are losing due to the injury. Essentially, they are entitled to 66 percent of the difference between their average weekly wage (AWW) at the time of the injury and their post injury earning power.
Returning to work may be easier if the employer creates accommodations that will allow the worker to work within his or her restrictions. Modified duty assignments help in maintaining a productive job assignment while the worker regains their normal abilities. These may include shorter work days, assistance with one or more duties, or temporary assignments. Injured workers may also take advantage of rehabilitation programs that assist in regaining strength and flexibility, and help in preventing future injuries.
Regardless of the remedies available through an employer, it is important to understand how workers’ comp benefits may be affected should you return to work. Also, you should know how your current limitations and abilities affect the type of work you can do. If you have questions about returning to work, or what your obligations are under an employer’s Return to Work program, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can advise you.