Learn the variables that influence the duration of benefits
If you suffer from a work-related injury or illness in California, you may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are often crucial for individuals who require financial support to cover medical expenses and replace lost income due to their inability to work.
However, many Californian workers who have sustained work-related injuries or illnesses may be uncertain about the duration of their workers' compensation benefits. Is there a deadline for receiving workers' comp benefits? What happens when the benefit period comes to an end?
Obtaining accurate answers to these critical questions can be a complicated process. Therefore, it is essential for injured workers to consult with an experienced California workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. The legal team at McLaughlin & Sanchez is here to help. Contact our law firm to learn more.
When can I start receiving workers' compensation in California?
In California, if you experience a work-related injury or illness, you are entitled to receive medical care. It's important to seek admission for your injury as soon as possible, even on the same day, to ensure timely treatment. While Temporary Total Disability (TTD) is not covered for the first three days, it will be retroactively paid for those days if the injury still prevents you from working. If you are unable to work due to your injury, TTD benefits will begin and continue to be paid every 14 days until you can return to work.
All employers in California are required to provide workers' compensation. This means you should receive financial compensation for replacement income if you cannot work, medical bills related to your injury or illness, and other expenses pursuant to the Labor Code. This might sound straightforward. But in many cases, getting the workers' comp benefits you're legally entitled to receive in California can be challenging.
How long can you be on workers' comp in California?
To begin receiving workers' compensation benefits in California, a doctor within the workers' compensation system must confirm that your injury or illness is work-related. Once verified, you can receive benefits such as medical treatment and income replacement for up to 104 weeks or two years, in most cases.
However, you may not be aware that these 104 weeks of temporary disability (TD) workers' compensation payments can be stretched out over five years in most cases. This applies if your work-related injury or illness occurred after January 1, 2008.
It is essential to note that there are a few exceptions to this rule, including severe burns and chronic lung diseases. In such cases, sick or injured workers may be eligible to receive TD workers' compensation benefits in California for up to 240 weeks over five years, according to California's Department of Industrial Relations.
How long does permanent disability last in California?
If you have a permanent disability (PD) due to a work-related injury or illness, you may be eligible to receive PD workers' compensation benefits for the rest of your life.
However, whether you receive PD benefits and how much you will be paid depends on several factors:
- Disability Rating: Your disability rating in a workers' compensation claim is determined by a doctor's assessment of your physical impairment using the AMA Guides 5th Edition. The assessment is based on the severity of your injury or illness and how much it affects your ability to perform activities of daily living. The doctor does not consider your work activities when determining your disability rating. The disability rating is used to calculate the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. The higher the rating, the higher the compensation.
- DOI: The date of your injury.
- Pre-Injury Income: When calculating an injured worker's compensation rate for Permanent Disability (PD) benefits, only their income is taken into consideration. However, for the majority (about 85%) of those who are injured, the maximum compensation rate for PD benefits is capped at $290 per week.
Your claims administrator will use a formula to calculate how much you should be paid based on these criteria. Depending on the circumstances, this payment may be made in weekly installments or as a lump sum payment.
Navigating California's complex workers' compensation system can be challenging, especially when determining PD benefits. However, an experienced workers' comp attorney can help you understand your legal rights, negotiate with the insurance company or claims administrator, and fight for fair compensation for your injuries or illness.
Talk to a workers' comp lawyer in Southern California
McLaughlin & Sanchez is an experienced workers' comp law firm that helps injured workers in San Diego and Imperial County obtain fair compensation for their work-related injuries. Workers' compensation attorneys Robert A. McLaughlin and Denise LaVerde Sanchez fight to maximize compensation by providing reliable, attentive, and motivated representation.
Put your trust in a law firm that puts your needs first. Contact us and schedule a free case review to see how a California workers' compensation lawyer can help you. Our offices are in San Diego, Chula Vista, and Temecula.