Question: I went to a company-related business conference this year. The conference schedule included a mid-day time for skiing. While skiing, I broke my rib cartilage. From this, it seems, I may have developed a bone tumor, and now I suffer from clinical depression, too.

Due to the injury, I have been on sick leave (short-term disability, called STD), and am in the process of being approved for long-term disability (called LTD). Now, though, I am being laid off.

HR is the one who told me to file for STD. I am wondering: maybe I should have filed for Workers’ Compensation, instead.

Rex, from Newark, NJ
(All names are changed)

Answer: You would be very wise to find out if you qualify for Workers’ Compensation. I am no expert on Workers’ Compensation, but it does seem to me that the circumstances of your injury – in the course of a company-sponsored event – will probably qualify you for Workers’ Compensation benefits.

The interplay between (a) long-term disability and (b) Workers’ Compensation can be confusing. Long-term disability (LTD) can last for 6 months, 12 months, 5 years, until you are 65 years of age, or even a lifetime, depending on the LTD policy your company provides to you. Workers’ Compensation usually lasts until you can again work.

Workers’ Compensation lawyers usually specialize in that one area, and no other areas. Though they are private lawyers, usually they are no cost to you, but are paid only by the Workers’ Compensation Board of your state. To find one, either look in the Yellow Pages or Google.

Hope that’s helpful. I have said a prayer for your prompt and full recovery.

Best, Al Sklover

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