What Does Worker's Comp Pay?

Worker's compensation insurance assists workers who have been injured on the job or suffered some other work-related illness. The laws on worker's compensation vary widely from one state to another. There are, however, some commonalities in what worker's comp pays for. No matter what state you find yourself in and what the procedures are, there are some things you can count on worker's comp covering.

Lost Wages

Many states require worker's compensation insurance to cover at least a portion of lost wages. You may also be eligible for lost-wages benefits if you return to your old employer in a lower-paying job after an injury or illness. Depending on the type of injury or illness, there may be a limit on the number of weeks that you can collect worker's compensation benefits for lost wages.

Medical Expenses

Worker's compensation benefits cover medical expenses resulting from work illness or injury. You receive these benefits even if the injury is your fault, as worker's compensation is "no fault" insurance. This includes both the cost of basic medical expenses and rehabilitation. Depending on your state, your employer may have the right to select your doctor.


You may not be able to return to your job even after your wounds have healed and you have been through rehabilitation or been cured of your illness. In this case, worker's compensation may cover the cost of retraining you for another job. This applies to workers who cannot return to their prior position but are not so injured or ill that they cannot work at all.


You may not be able to return to your job at all. In this case, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits. This means that a doctor has ruled that you cannot return to work under any circumstances. You can receive lost wages benefits for this at a percentage of your former wage.