It has long been an unspoken truth that many employers are hesitant to hire employees who suffer from a permanent partial disability. While that individual may have proven their ability to do their work safely and completely time and time again, these employers often balk at the potential for the employee to become injured on the job and become permanently and totally disabled.
While this is clearly an unjust discrimination, it all boils down to money, as business decisions often do. Employers worry about the financial implications of a workers’ compensation claim with any employee, but for employees with existing partial disabilities, the financial burden could grow immensely. To answer that concern, a fund known as the Second Injury Fund was started nearly 100 years ago.
Who Does the Fund Help?
The Second Injury Fund was meant as a way to ease employers’ fears about hiring workers with pre-existing partial disabilities by assuming part of the financial burden associated with total disability workers’ compensation claims. If you had lost as eye in a car accident as a teen, for example, and later lost your other eye in a workplace accident, you would be considered totally disabled. Rather than your employer being held financially responsible for your total disability, however, they will likely pay out benefits for your new injury, and the Second Injury Fund would step in to cover your benefits when their obligation is over.
In order to be eligible to receive benefits from the Second Injury Fund, you must be considered permanently and totally disabled as the result of a pre-existing partial disability and a new work-related injury. Your pre-existing disability need not be the result of a workplace injury, as seen in the example above. If found eligible, you may be able to receive benefits from the Secondary Injury Fund for life.
If you believe you may qualify for benefits under the Secondary Injury Fund, the Manfred F. Ricciardelli Jr. workers’ compensation law firm can help. To learn more, schedule your no-cost consultation today by calling the office or by filling out the short contact form at the bottom of this page.