If you have been injured in an accident and need to take time off from work to heal, you are entitled to do so. This time off from work should not count against your vacation days or sick days.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, it is crucial that you give your employer written notice of your injury within four days of the occurrence. If you fail to give this written notice, you risk losing one day of benefits for each day that you fail to give notice after the first four days of your recovery time. You can still give written notice after four days and receive workers’ compensation benefits, but those benefits may be reduced. Verbal notice to your supervisor is not sufficient—this needs to be documented thoroughly and succinctly.
You will need a medical authorization form from your physician that gives reason why you were unable to work for a period of time. A specific order from a physician will be held to a higher regard than simply your interpretation of injuries and healing time.
You will also need a release from the doctor indicating when it is okay for you to return to work, whether you are returning full time or part time, and whether or not there are any restrictions on the work you are able to do. Your “lost earnings” does not simply apply to your lost salary, but also extends to lost benefits, lost vacation time and lost sick time. These all have value and you are entitled to recover whatever value you had to give up in order to recuperate from your injuries.
If you miss more than four days of work, it is your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance that is allowing you to receive wage loss benefits. If you miss more than two weeks, you are entitled to these wage loss benefits for every day missed due to the injury, including the first four days. If your employer forces you to use vacation pay or sick leave, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier must still pay you wage loss benefits. Therefore, you should get your regular pay for vacation or sick leave and, in addition, you would be paid workers’ compensation benefits.
This post was intended to provide general information only and is not intended as specific legal advice. You should not rely upon this information alone, but should consult legal counsel regarding the application of the laws and regulations discussed and as applied to your specific case or circumstance.