If you've suffered an on-the-job injury, you are probably entitled to certain benefits from your job's workers' comp. This form of insurance offers hurt workers a partial salary and medical expenses but may not work all that well for the long term. When your injury lasts several weeks or months, it can begin to affect your ability to make ends meet. Read on to learn more about the financial effects of being hurt while at work.
Your Pay is Reduced
Workers' comp is not meant to be a penny-for-penny replacement for the salary you had before you were hurt; it often only pays about 66% of your previous pay. The actual amount varies by state, but these payments are always weekly and are tax-free income. For most people, this reduction in income is felt right away. Bills pile up, there's less money to buy groceries, and you may have to deal with collection activities at some point.
Is Your Workers' Comp Salary Safe?
Wage garnishment allows creditors to remove a portion of your pay before it goes to you to help pay certain bills. For example, if you are behind on your child support obligation, the child support enforcement agency has the power to place a wage garnishment on your pay. Since workers' comp is run by each state individually, the way wage garnishments are handled in regard to your partial salary depends.
In most cases, wage garnishment can continue for certain debts. For example, it's difficult to have wage garnishment for things like tax debts and child support enforcement removed, regardless of the reason. In some places, however, your workers' comp pay is safe from garnishment. Since the main reason that workers' comp exists is to help employers avoid being sued, there are some protections in place for that portion of your salary that you do get while you recuperate. In all cases, there are safeguards in place to prevent your salary from falling below the state's minimum wage when it comes to garnishments.
Should You Sue or Settle?
When your financial situation gets so bad that you are considering taking action, you might consider speaking with a workers' comp attorney. The decision to sue your employer for your injury is a complex issue, and expertise and experience in this very specific area of the law is called for. In some cases, you may be barred from filing a suit if you have already accepted workers' comp benefits. You may also be eligible for a lump sum settlement from the workers' comp carrier; one that is meant to provide you with compensation for your workplace injury. Speak to a workers' comp attorney to learn more.
For more information, contact a law office like Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP.
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