Time off from work while treating: should I be paid?


This question was recently posted on our website:
“If my worker’s comp doctor scheduled me to be off following a cortisone injection, should I be paid for the time off?”


There are two parts to the answer:


The first is that, that if you lose work time traveling to and attending medical appointments, you are entitled to reimbursement based on your average daily wages.  The term “average daily wages” is not defined in the Worker’s Compensation Act, so we argue that it means exactly what it says: average daily wages.  That is, if you miss 4 hours of work and you earn $15 per hour, you are entitled to $60, not 2/3 of $60.   If your treatment is outside the county where you work, you are also eligible for mileage reimbursement at 44¢ a mile.


The second part is that, when a compensable injury renders an employee unable to work, compensation for lost wages is paid starting on the eighth day.   On the twenty-second day of disability, the employee will receive retroactive compensation for the first seven days.


Temporary Total Disability (TTD) is paid for the time period an employee is completely unable to perform his or her regular work because of an injury.  TTD is paid at the rate of two-thirds (2/3) of the employee’s pre-injury average weekly wage, subject to a maximum period of 500 weeks.


Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) is paid when an injured worker is only partially unable to work for a temporary period because of a work-related injury.  The worker may be limited in the number of hours they are able to work or may need to be temporarily reassigned to a less strenuous task at a lower rate of pay.  TPD is paid at the rate of two-thirds (2/3) of the difference between the temporary wage and the employee’s pre-injury average weekly wage for a maximum period of 200 weeks.


Before you will receive any type of disability pay, the following events must occur:

1)    Your claim has been accepted by the worker’s compensation insurance carrier;

2)    The doctor whom the carrier authorized to treat your injury has ordered you off work or has put you on restrictions that your employer is unable to meet; and

3)    You have been ordered off work for more than seven (7) days.


However, the seven days do not have to be consecutive days. For instance, let’s say this person were to have a series of five injections, and after each injection is ordered off work for two days.  After the fourth injection (the seventh and eighth day off work), benefits should start on the eighth day.  Then, let’s say after the series of injections surgery is ordered and the worker is taken off work for eight weeks afterward to recover.  Once the worker is off for twenty-one days (which would include the ten days off after the injections) the employer/carrier would have to go back and pay those first seven days.

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