If you were hurt on the job and you filed a workers’ compensation claim, you may receive coverage for medical bills, compensation for a portion of your regular earnings during the time when you were recovering, and temporary or permanent disability benefits.
According to the California Department of Insurance, “Injured workers are entitled to receive all medical treatment reasonably required to cure or relieve the effects of a work-related injury or illness.” That may include a wide range of services and treatments, including care provided in a hospital or a doctor’s office, chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, dental care, X-rays, laboratory services, and other forms of care that are considered appropriate.
Your employer will be responsible for arranging treatment in the first 30 days after you get injured, unless you informed your employer before you got injured that, in the event of a workplace injury or illness, you would like to receive care from your personal physician. If you did not predesignate your own doctor, you may have to seek treatment from a healthcare organization or medical provider network that your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company has chosen to handle treatment for injured employees.
Temporary Disability Payments
If you are not able to go back to work within three days of your illness or injury, you may be eligible for temporary disability benefits. This will cover two-thirds of your lost earnings, up to a limit set by law. You will not receive payments for the first three days you are out of work unless you are hospitalized overnight or you are unable to work for more than 14 days. You will generally receive temporary disability payments every two weeks until you can return to work until your condition becomes permanent and stationary, or until you reach the time limit set by law.
Permanent Disability Payments
If your injury or illness left you with a permanent impairment, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits that will be paid every two weeks. A doctor (your treating physician, a Qualified Medical Evaluator, or an Agreed Medical Evaluator) will assess your level of impairment.
The amount you will be eligible for can be calculated using a formula that takes several factors into account. These may include the seriousness of the injury, your age when you were injured, your occupation, the date when the injury occurred, how much of the injury is work-related, and how the disability may affect your ability to earn a living in the future.
California law sets the minimum and maximum allowable amounts for permanent disability payments. You may continue to receive benefits until you reach the maximum amount or receive a lump-sum settlement.
Other Forms of Assistance
If you are unable to continue working in your former profession because of your injuries, you may receive financial assistance to help you receive training so you can seek employment in a different field. A Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit can pay for training and related expenses.
You may also be eligible for a Return-to-Work Supplement Program. This is a one-time supplemental payment for workers whose loss of income was disproportionate to their disability ratings.
Seek Guidance from a Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Navigating the workers’ compensation system can be confusing and overwhelming. You may not know what types of benefits you are eligible for or what amount of compensation is reasonable.
Insurance companies want to protect their bottom line, and they generally make low initial offers. Even if the insurance company offers you a settlement that seems reasonable or even generous at first glance, it may not be.
People who have been hurt often do not know how their injuries will affect them in the years ahead. You may expect to make a full recovery, but you may be disappointed to realize that you will not. You may continue to experience limited mobility and pain that may make it difficult or impossible for you to return to work and earn a living.
You may have to receive medical care for the foreseeable future. You may have to take medication to help you deal with the pain, or you may have to undergo one or more surgeries. You may have to seek assistance from an in-home caregiver, or you may need to move into a nursing home.
You should hold off on accepting a settlement until you have reached maximum medical improvement. At that point, you, your doctors, and your attorney will understand the extent of your injuries and your long-term outlook.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has represented clients in California and across the United States in workers’ compensation cases. We can consider the seriousness of your injuries, your prognosis, and the challenges and complications that you may experience in the future. After taking all that information into account, we can figure out what types of compensation you may be entitled to and seek a fair settlement. Call our office today at (800) 529-9122 to discuss your case and learn more about how we may be able to help you.