Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Injured Workers
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Workers’ compensation claims are different from other types of personal injury claims in a number of ways. If you are injured at work or while doing any activity that benefits your employer, you are entitled to workers’ compensation in California—you do not need to prove that your employer or any other party was negligent to receive compensation, as you typically do in personal injury claims. However, because it is a no-fault system, injured workers waive their right to sue their employers if they receive workers’ compensation benefits.
The actual workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to receive also differ from the type of compensation you can receive in other types of injury claims; specifically, workers’ compensation does not cover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Workers’ compensation benefits in California cover the following:
- Medical care
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability
- Job displacement (retraining)
Read on to learn more about workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers, or contact our Modesto workers’ compensation lawyers at (209) 850-7379 for a free consultation.
Medical Care Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits in California cover the cost of medical care to treat your injuries. Your employer may choose your doctor for you, or you may choose your physician yourself, from the Medical Provider Network (MPN).
Treatment for work-related injuries covered by workers’ compensation is subject to a process known as Utilization Review. All MPN doctors are required to follow certain standardized care guidelines, which govern things like appropriate treatments for certain injuries, duration of medical care, and more. With Utilization Review, treatment requests are reviewed by an independent medical professional who can either approve, modify, or deny the request.
Under workers’ compensation, all of your medical costs associated with your work-related injury are covered. These include things like:
- Initial emergency treatment
- Medical equipment
- Rehabilitative treatment
- Specialist visits/services
- Lab testing
- Follow-up appointments
- Mileage to and from doctors’ appointments
- Mileage to and from pharmacies to pick up medication
Once your MPN doctor determines that any additional treatment will not be effective, he or she will write what is known as a Permanent and Stationary Report.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability (TD) benefits are a form of wage replacement, meant to reimburse you for wages you miss while you are temporarily out of work due to your work-related injury. Generally speaking, TD benefits equal two-thirds of your average weekly wage but cannot exceed the most up-to-date maximum level per the state of California.
In order to receive TD benefits, the following must be true:
- Your doctor states that you have an injury that prevents you from working or limits the work you are able to perform
- Your employer’s insurance provider agrees that your injury is related to your work
- Your employer does not offer you modified work (also known as “light duty”)
If you receive TD benefits, they will end at 104 weeks within the five-year period beginning on the date of your injury or if you return to work, are advised by your doctor that you can return to work, or when your doctor determines that your condition has stabilized or that you are permanently disabled.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Permanent disability (PD) benefits are also a form of wage replacement. PD benefits are meant to compensate you for future lost earnings if you suffer a work-related injury that permanently prevents you from returning to work at your prior capacity or in any capacity at all.
If your doctor determines that you are permanently disabled, you will receive a disability rating from 0 to 100 percent. Anything below 100 percent is considered “partial disability;” only a 100 percent disabled rating will be considered permanently totally disabled.
If you receive a 100 percent disability rating, you are entitled to receive lifetime benefits, paid weekly, at the temporary disability rate. If your disability rating falls between 70 percent and 99 percent, you will also receive lifetime weekly payments, first at the temporary disability rate followed by a lifetime pension once TD benefits end.
Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
If you are unable to return to work due to your occupational injury, you are entitled to receive supplemental job displacement benefits. Also known as retraining benefits, this is a voucher up to $6,000 to assist with the costs associated with training for new employment.
You are only entitled to supplemental job displacement benefits if your employer does not offer you modified work or light duty that provides you with at least 85 percent of your pre-injury salary, is a reasonable distance/commute from your home, and lasts for a period of at least one year (12 months).
Supplemental job displacement vouchers can only be used for specific things; these include licensing fees, exam fees, resume services, job placement costs, training equipment/tools, and computer equipment used for job training.
Request a Free Consultation to Learn More about Your Options
If you were injured on the job or while carrying out any duties in the scope of your employment in the state of California, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. There are very few exceptions to this; in most cases, you will be covered. If you are unsure which benefits you may receive, or if you need help with your claim, contact our Modesto workers’ compensation attorneys for a free consultation. We are happy to answer your questions and guide you through the process from start to finish.
Contact Rancaño & Rancaño, APLC online or by calling (209) 850-7379 to learn more about how our firm can help you with your claim. Se habla español.
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Juan Perez Vasquez v. Sonoran Roofing, Inc., CIGA, services by Sedgwick CMS
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Sergio Cervantes v. Central Valley Painting, State Compensation Insurance Fund
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Julio Calderon v. South Placer Roofing Co., Inc., State Compensation Insurance Fund
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Armando Calderon v. A & A Cattle, Intercare Insurance Services
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Workers' Compensation $1,300,000
Ociel Garcia v. Capital Builders, National Fire Union Insurance Company
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Ramon Madriz-Mendoza v. Pacific International Steel, State Compensation Insurance Fund
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