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Definition of Waiting Period

A waiting period in a workers' compensation claim is a type of worker deductible. It is a period of time in which a worker who suffers a work-related injury has to wait to receive the workers‘ compensation benefits that they are entitled to for their work-related injury. However, in many states, an injured worker is allowed to have a medical-only claim during the waiting period so that they may receive the appropriate and necessary medical care that they need for their injury. If there is a collective agreement, it may have provisions that require continuation of the worker's wage during the waiting period.

In most instances, the waiting period begins the first day in which an injured worker loses wages. It lasts anywhere from one day to one week. A three day or seven day waiting period is common in most states. If a worker's injury keeps them from working for a period that lasts anywhere from one to four weeks, with 14 days being the most common, the waiting period is waived and the worker receives benefits that include this time period.

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