Workers in all industries in Kansas face risks of suffering on-the-job injuries. However, some occupations are considerably more dangerous than others, with employees facing life-changing or potentially fatal injuries every day. They may find comfort in knowing that the workers' compensation insurance system will be there to provide financial help if such an unfortunate incident should jeopardize their ability to care for their families.
If you are working in the construction, mining or another hazardous industry, you might have questions about the workers' compensation benefits to which you will be entitled if you should suffer a debilitating injury. Knowing the facts might give you enough peace of mind to focus on your safety.
Types of indemnity benefits
When you file a workers' compensation benefits claim, the insurers will consider whether the disability is permanent or temporary and whether it is total or partial. They will categorize your claim and award the appropriate benefits. The following explains the benefits under each of the four categories:
- Temporary Total Disability — You will receive TTD benefits if your injury prevents you from returning to work. However, your employer's insurer will have a waiting period before it becomes effective. For example, if the waiting period is seven days and you can return to work after two or three days, you will not qualify for TTD benefits.
- Temporary Partial Disability– TPD benefits are those you will receive if the nature of your injury allows you to return to work with a doctor's instruction of limited hours or lighter duties until full recovery. If your employer adjusts your wages according to fewer hours worked per day or a lower level job, TTD benefits will be paid to make up for a percentage of that loss. These benefits will continue until you fully recover and return back to your regular job.
- Permanent Partial Disability — PPD benefits are much more complicated in how they are implemented. A physician typically determines the level of disability after maximum medical improvement, and then payment is established either as a set amount of some percentage of the employee's regular pay.
- Permanent Total Disability — If the treating physician declares you permanently disabled without any possibility of gainful employment, you will receive PTD benefits. However, different jurisdictions may also treat this condition differently. The insurer will consider the degree and the nature of your physical limitations along with your age, education level and the possibility of your learning new skills that will enable you to work in a different field.
While most people avoid thoughts of their own mortality, the hazards you face every day may force you to consider a potential fatal workplace injury. You may find further comfort in knowing that the Kansas workers' compensation program will take care of your family by paying death benefits to cover your funeral and burial costs along with a wage-replacement package for a set number of years after your death. Also, the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney will be available to them.