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Injured at the workplace: Wisconsin's workers' compensation program

Have you been injured on the job? If you have, you should know that you may be entitled to recovery benefits. As you take time to restore your wellbeing, you can be compensated for missed working time. Workers' compensation provides payment of reasonable medical expenses and compensation for lost wages resulting from work-related injuries or disabilities.

Most employees in Wisconsin are covered under this legal program. Regardless of how long you have been working for your particular employer, coverage for compensation purposes begins as soon as you begin employment. This includes any training period. The only employee exceptions to the Wisconsin's workers' compensation coverage requirement are:

  • Volunteers
  • Domestic servants
  • Some farm employees
  • Religious sect members that qualify and are certified

What benefits do I receive under the workers' compensation system?

Workers' compensation covers all reasonable and necessary medical expenses. In your healing period, you may have a temporary loss in wage. In this case, temporary partial disability (TPD) or temporary total disability (TTD) can sustain you while you regain health. Your eligibility for temporary disability must be determined and documented by a physician. Benefits for TTD due to disability are based on two-thirds of your wage up to a specified amount for the year of injury.

However, if you do not fully recover from the work injury, you can receive permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. Generally, permanent disability benefits are determined by your treating physician, based on a number of factors, including surgical procedures, ongoing pain, range of motion, loss of strength and severity of your harm. For certain injuries (including back, neck, and mental injuries), you may be entitled to a loss of earning capacity if you cannot return to your usual employment after an injury.

Workers' compensation also includes vocational rehabilitation and retraining for injured workers if a work injury precludes a return to your former profession. In the event that your loved one was fatally injured at the workplace, workers' compensation can provide death benefits to qualifying beneficiaries.

What steps should I take if I am injured on the job?

If you are harmed from a work-related accident, you should immediately report your injury to your supervisor or manager. It is your employer's responsibility to report the incident and injury to their workers' compensation insurance carrier.

Furthermore, you should obtain any necessary medical services. Be certain to maintain all relevant medical documents and payment records. In the event that your employer or the insurance company contests your injury, you will need these documents for verification purposes.

If you have been injured at work, you may want to contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney. A lawyer can help you sort through your benefits claim.

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