After an accident, you struggle with therapy, sufferance, and pain. And, to add more to this trouble, you have your email and mailbox full of medical bills that need to be cleared. If you’ve been out of office for some time now, you can deal with financial issues, caused by no paychecks coming from your employer.
When you’ve been injured and can’t work, you have the right to claim for benefits to cover your expenses during recovery. How much you receive depends on your age, contract, wage and the numbers of worked hours previous to the incident. 
But, claiming lost wages is hard work, because details are hidden in complex text laws and contracts. Furthermore, regulations on compensation coverage vary with the state. You need to dig into your contract to see what benefits are available for you and whether you’re eligible, based on your injuries. Then, you must fill out applications and wait for answers from your employer.
If you had an incident not work connected, you can still claim to recover missed wages and earnings opportunities. Let’s take a closer look.
Workers Compensation 
In all states, employers must have a workers compensation policy for workplace injury and illness. Even better, in most cases, workers can benefit from insurance even in the situation in which their negligence has contributed to the injury. 
In most states, this type of insurance includes medical coverage, disability benefits, rehabilitation, and death. You also get two-thirds of your usual pay weekly, until you recover. 
workers compensation
Medical Coverage – normally, it’s unlimited. Here you can include all your medical bills:
  • Doctor visits;
  • Medical diagnostic tests;
  • Hospital and nursing care;
  • Medications;
  • Physical therapy.
Disability Benefits – you can get a partial reimbursement of your wage, for the period in which you are temporarily or permanently disable. The percentage of wage you receive varies from one state to another. 
Rehabilitation – also called vocational rehabilitation benefits, they’re meant to help you return to work.  You have the right to paid training if you have to change occupation due to injury.  Sometimes the insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of your training, as amounts vary with the provider.
Death Benefits – for people who get killed on the job, the provider pays benefits to the surviving partner and minor children. 
What If the Injury Didn’t Occur on the Job?
At first, call your employer and explain your current situation. Make sure you mention all important details – how long you’ll be missing, what doctors say about your future abilities, whether you’ll be able to restart your normal tasks. 
For the sick leaves and paid leaves you have available, you should receive your regular paycheck. Then you have the right to unpaid, job-protected leave. According to the Family and Medical Leave Act, you can benefit from up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave. It’s not going to pay your bills, but it keeps your job in the long run. 
Your health insurance should cover medical care, but what about the other expenses? In these cases, your options are limited. And, it’s wise to ask for professional help from an injury lawyer. Anyway, it’s important to know that you still have the right to receive compensations for the time you aren’t able to work. 
At, you can consult a personal injury attorney who can help you understand how to recover lost wages. This way, you can determine who’s liable and what documents you need to claim to recover the lost money. 
Normally, you should be able to prove:
  • How your injuries kept you from working – with documentation from your doctors 
  • How much money you would have made during the time in which you weren’t able to work – with information from the HR department mentioning your wage and the number of missed hours. 
If you’re self-employed, you can recover your lost money if you manage to prove your average income prior to the incident.
What about Social Security Disability Benefits?
If your medical condition keeps you away from work for more than a year, you can try to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. If you’re eligible, then you get compensations for not being able to work. Amounts vary based on your previous contributions. You can ask for these benefits only if you’ve paid Social Security taxes on your wage and you have enough working credits. 
social security
When applying, you must make sure you have all documents up to date, to prove the fact that you’re unable to perform working activities – if you can have a different occupation, you don’t qualify. 
An alternative to Social Security Disability Insurance is the ERISA insurance. Depending on the state of residence and company you work for, you can benefit from a private insurance that can cover between 50 and 80 percent of your monthly salary until you can go back to work. Discuss options with your HR manager and, if you’re eligible, file a claim. 
The Takeaway 
Being injured and unable to work doesn’t mean bankruptcy. You have the right to recover wages and lost money. Every situation has its particularities, but in most cases, it’s a matter of justice and responsibility. The person or organization that caused your losses and pain must pay you compensations.

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