Workers' Compensation vs. FMLA

While workers’ compensation and the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) serve different purposes, they sometimes overlap. It’s crucial to understand how they can apply to you and your family when you are dealing with a serious illness so that you can maximize your benefits and coverage under these important protections.

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Workers’ Compensation vs. FMLA

Workers Compensation Coverage

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance for workers who are injured on the job. If your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, it should cover your injury-related health care costs and income replacement – typically a percentage of your full pay rate. Benefits vary from state to state, but in Texas workers’ compensation pays an injured employee 70 percent of his or her full pay rate, and coverage can last as long as 104 weeks – or two years.

Family & Medical Leave Act Protection

The FMLA requires employers to permit employees up to 12 weeks off during any 12-month period to deal with a serious medical condition—whether it’s job-related or not—or to care for a close family member who is dealing with a serious medical condition. Your employer does not have to pay you for this time off, but you can’t be fired or demoted as retribution for taking medical leave. And, any health insurance benefits you had before taking leave must be maintained.

Concurrent Workers’ Comp and FMLA Coverage

So, what if you need to take time off to deal with a serious medical issue? If it’s a work-related injury, it may be covered under workers’ compensation and the FMLA. Through worker’s comp, your injury-related medical expenses would be paid, and you would receive workers’ compensation pay for the time off you needed to recover. But the time you take off under workers’ compensation may be counted toward the 12-week maximum you receive through the FMLA.

However, your employer must notify you at the beginning of your leave that they are counting it as workers’ compensation leave and FMLA leave concurrently. For example, you might take time off to recover from a work injury under a workers’ compensation claim and then a few months later need to take time off under the FMLA. Unless your employer told you when you took workers’ comp leave that it was also being counted as FMLA leave, you are entitled to your full 12-weeks off under the FMLA.

Illnesses and Injuries Are a Fact of Life

Nearly everyone experiences serious medical issues at some point in their work lives – whether it’s a work-related injury or a health crisis suffered by a loved one. If you don’t know your rights, you may miss out on valuable workplace benefits designed to help you during those tough times.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident regardless of where you live, we will be happy to evaluate your potential case through a free consultation.

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    Our Team is Here to Help

    Below is a list of some of the most-frequently-asked questions by our clients and prospective clients. If you still have any questions, feel free to contact us.

    • Why should I hire an attorney?

      Potential defendants are usually covered by insurance. The insurance companies are notified immediately when an accident occurs, and they usually hire attorneys and expert witnesses to investigate the claim. It is important that witnesses be interviewed as soon as possible and evidence be preserved. Witnesses will often be more difficult to locate or will have a poor memory if they are interviewed much later after the accident has occurred. Evidence such as machinery parts or skid marks on the highway will disappear unless preserved quickly. Insurance companies have insurance adjusters who will contact you and try to be friendly. You should not trust the statements that insurance adjusters make to you. They are not working for you and will sometimes make misleading statements in an effort to trick you into resolving your case. Insurance adjusters also might record your conversations with them and use your statements against you in order to try to save money for the insurance companies.

      The main thing we try to impress upon people is that it’s never too early to talk to an attorney, and it’s always too late. By that we mean that speaking with an attorney very soon after a crash or other accident in no way will harm you. Along the same lines, the longer you try to handle a claim on your own or delay hiring competent counsel, irreparable damage can be done in the form of recorded statements given to the insurance companies and evidence not being preserved. There is no risk or fee for speaking with an attorney and arranging an initial consultation.

    • How and when do I pay for a personal injury attorney?

      Most personal injury attorneys work on what is called a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay the attorney only if and when the attorney has successfully made a recovery in your case, either by settlement or by winning a jury trial. Our philosophy is that clients have enough to worry about, so clients at Glasheen, Valles & Inderman never pay us a dime out of their pockets directly; when you’re case is finished, the insurance company sends a check to our law firm, we take our percentage fee from that check, and send the remainder to the client.

      In the rare event we are unable to make a recovery on your case, you still don’t pay us a dime, and that even includes case costs, court costs, expert fees, and any advances. There is truly zero risk in hiring a personal injury law firm like Glasheen, Valles & Inderman.

    • What is my claim worth?

      Personal injury claims are usually resolved by either settlement or by a jury. When a case is settled, it is the client’s decision of whether or not to accept a settlement offer. The lawyer will advise the client as to the potential value of the claim. Lawyers evaluate the potential value of a claim by predicting what a jury would do based on experience with similar claims.A jury can consider all sorts of damages in a personal injury case including medical expenses in the past and in the future, loss of earnings in the past and in the future as a result of the injury, physical pain and mental anguish in the past and in the future, compensation for impairment – that is loss of use, and disfigurement damages. The jury has discretion in awarding the sums. We can give you advice on the value of your claim based on our experience with some of our claims and similar jury results.

    • How long will my claim take to resolve?

      The time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim depends very much on the type of case. We believe that it is important to prosecute claims as quickly and efficiently as possible. We usually like to have our client finish with their medical treatment so that we can fully and properly evaluate their injuries before we attempt to settle the claim. Sometimes we can assist a client with making advances to cover lost wages or living expenses while the client is waiting for the case to be resolved. Typically, automobile accident cases with fairly minor injuries can be resolved in about six months. More serious accident cases usually take anywhere from six months up to a year and a half or longer.

    • Will my case go to trial?

      Whether a case goes to trial depends on dozens of factors, including your damages, the amount of insurance available, and the circumstances of the case. However, generally speaking, approximately 98% of personal injury cases settle without going to trial.