Most adults are familiar with both worker's compensation and the Family Medical Leave Act, also called FMLA. Unfortunately, most people associate FMLA with taking time off from work to have a child, so they don't see the connection that can be built between worker's compensation and FMLA benefits. Here's a look at what you should know so you can discuss it with your worker's compensation attorney.
What Exactly Is FMLA?
The Family Medical Leave Act is legal protection for workers who need to take time off from work to address their own serious medical condition or that of an immediate family member. This is why it's usually associated with childbirth. However, despite the fact that most people automatically think of that, it's a broader spectrum policy.
It allows for leave to deal with any serious medical condition. With a qualifying medical situation, you can take up to twelve weeks of paid time off. Depending on the severity of the injury you suffered at work, you may be able to file for FMLA benefits through your job while you're out on worker's compensation.
What Kind of Medical Situations Qualify?
When it comes to qualifying for FMLA due to an injury sustained at work, you must meet certain qualifications. For example, if the injury requires inpatient treatment, prolonged outpatient therapy, or is on the "medically serious" list produced by the Department of Labor, that will typically qualify you for FMLA coverage while you're getting treatment. This will protect your job and help you replace lost income for a little while as you heal.
How Do You Apply For FMLA?
You will have to talk with your employer to apply for FMLA coverage for your time off. Your employer will submit the information to the Department of Labor, if necessary, for final review. Each injury and application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. That way you know that your case is being reviewed in detail.
Before you apply for worker's compensation or FMLA benefits, you should talk with your worker's compensation attorney about the situation. He or she can not only help you determine if you qualify, they can also help you to apply for the benefits and document your situation adequately for your own protection. Don't risk being denied for coverage just because you missed a detail or didn't understand the paperwork. Having an attorney on your side will ensure that your case is reviewed fairly.