If you are pregnant, then you likely have a lot of information to understand about maternity leave, maternity disability, and accommodations that your work should make for you. Another thing that you should concern yourself with is what will happen if you are injured while you are at work if you are pregnant. Similar to non-pregnant co-workers, if you are injured at work, you will likely be entitled to some form of workers compensation benefits. However, there are some things that you should know about workers compensation and pregnancy.
Pregnant Women Who Are Injured On the Job Are Entitled to Workers Compensation
The first thing to understand is that if you are injured while you are at work, then you will likely be entitled to workers compensation of some sort. Even if your pregnancy contributed to the injury, you should still be eligible for light duty, coverage of medical costs associated with your injury, or paid medical leave. For example, even if your work injury would not force you to stop working, but you cannot work when your work injury is combined with your pregnancy, you should still be eligible for workers compensation benefits.
You May Be Able to Continue to Receive Workers Compensation While You Are on Unpaid Maternity Leave
Perhaps you are on disability pay and you give birth. Your employer may want to stop your disability pay since you would usually be on unpaid maternity leave at that point. However, if you are eligible for disability pay and your work injury continues for the duration of what would normally be considered your maternity leave, you should still be eligible for disability pay. You may have to go in for regular check-ups while you are on leave for a doctor to assess your work-related injuries.
It should be noted, however, that if you are eligible for light duty when you give birth and you decide to stop your light duty work to take maternity leave, you will likely not be eligible for disability pay.
If You Become Pregnant While Receiving Workers Compensation, Your Doctor Should Let the Insurance Company Know
If you are pregnant or become pregnant while you are on disability or light duty, your doctor should let the insurance company know. This can usually be done on a workers compensation form under the category of, "Items that May Prevent Recovery," or a similar title. It is not your responsibility to inform the insurance company of your pregnancy.
Your Pregnancy May Prevent You From Receiving Disability Benefits for the Duration of Your Injury
If a doctor determines that your pregnancy is making recovery from a workplace injury take significantly longer than recovery for a non-pregnant person would take, your disability benefits may be cut short. However, since people recover from similar injuries at different rates, it can be very difficult to prove that your pregnancy is significantly delaying your recovery. Your employer or their insurance company cannot simply assume that your pregnancy is delaying your recovery; they must prove it.
A New Pregnancy While Your Are On Disability May Warrant a More Thorough Investigation of Your Injuries
If you are claiming to have significant injuries that reduce your mobility, a new pregnancy may spark an investigation into the legitimacy of your current injuries. This can be somewhat embarrassing as doctors may ask how you conceived and other questions related to your mobility. However, a new pregnancy will not automatically make you ineligible for workers compensation benefits and it is important that you get appropriate medical care by informing your doctor of your pregnancy.
As a pregnant woman, you have a lot of work items to consider. Workers compensation should be one more thing that you make sure you fully understand and take advantage of if you are eligible. For more information, consult companies like Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP.