Back pay is pretty clear cut, you should have been paid for something, and that didn’t happen. Except that’s not exactly how backpay works. Unfortunately, a lot of lunchroom talk makes it seem like somehow, your company owes you back pay, especially after an injury.
Working with a workers compensation lawyer, you can learn what to expect during your claim and hope for in a settlement. Your lawyer should explain if you have a very rare case which might entitle you to backpay.
What is Back Pay?
Back pay is the remedy for victims of employment violations which impacted their wages. For example, if an employer were found to have mishandled payroll and issued payment for fewer hours than what was worked, you would receive back pay.
The Department of Labor and the Secretary of Labor are the largest standing reinforcement bodies when it comes to backpay. So is it possible to receive backpay for workers comp?
If your worker’s compensation overlapped or was impacted by a violation of employment law, it’s possible. It’s not the standard procedure when it comes to worker’s compensation. Consider the basic structure of worker’s comp before you consider suing for back pay.
How Do Worker’s Comp Payouts Work?
First, you’re hurt at work, and then you will seek medical attention from an approved doctor. Afterward, you will file a worker’s comp claim. That claim will go through your employer’s, usually private, workers compensation insurance carrier. That insurance company will assign a representative to your claim.
Then that representative will contact you to discuss the incident, the extent of your injury, what medical treatment you need, and your recovery. That representative may also investigate your medical history and prior worker’s compensation claims as part of their investigation.
Finally, you’ll receive notice of approval or denial. If the insurance carrier denies your claim, you have further options available. If you receive approval, you’ll receive compensation for specific aspects of your recovery and job.
From this process, you can see that there’s a rather wide gap of information in what happens to your paycheck. Do you work? Do you not work? It all depends on your injury, but your doctor will tell you whether you can, or cannot return to work.
Do not return to work if your doctor does not sign off on it.
Worker’s Compensation Coverage
Worker’s compensation covers very specific things, including:
- Hospital bills
- Ambulance transportation
- Cost of doctor’s visits
- Cost of surgery
- Temporary disability payments
- A portion of lost wages.
Given what workers compensation covers, it’s not likely that you’ll receive back pay. However, many people incorrectly associate backpay with worker’s compensation because of how long claims take to process.
If your claim takes three months to go through, you’re not receiving back pay, you’re receiving the amount of your claim, just rather late.
Why is Backpay So Often Mentioned in Workers Comp Talk?
There is a section of workers compensation that does appear to be a form of back pay, at first blush. Temporary Total Disability, TTD, covers days missed at work as part of your claim.
For example, if you missed three weeks of work, you probably feel like you have three weeks of TTD coming your way. But, after a bit of back and forth, you’ll see that you only receive a few days and now you’re out of a paycheck for the last two and a half weeks. How did that happen, where did your “backpay” go?
It comes down to how often you saw the “right” doctor. If the insurance company cites that you only saw an approved doctor the one time right after your injury, they’ll argue that you had no reason to miss that much work. Even if the doctor didn’t release you to return to work.
If you’re experiencing this problem, you need legal help. This issue is commonplace abuse on the part of insurance companies.
Find the Right Workers Compensation Lawyer in Washington DC for Your Case
When you’re working on getting pay for the time you missed at work, you need legal guidance. Workers compensation insurance companies are professionals at avoiding payouts and weaseling out of court-approved appeals.
Call the law offices of Ashcraft and Gerel for help in fighting for your lost wages now. A knowledgeable workers compensation lawyer from the Washington DC area to guide you through the entire claims process. In situations where your employer’s insurance company is refusing to comply with a court-approved appeal, you may have a much bigger legal issue on your hands.