To qualify for workers’ compensation in Los Angeles, you must have suffered an injury during your work or received a diagnosis for an illness or disease that resulted from your job. Those with both one-time occupational accidents and conditions that develop over time, such as those caused by repetitive motions or exposure to chemicals, qualify. However, you must take other steps to pursue compensation.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reported that in 2018, medically consulted work injuries cost an estimated $41,000 each. In California, you have a right to obtain payment for the medical care you receive as a result of your workplace injury, no matter who holds fault for the accident. Also, you may receive additional benefits, depending on the extent of your injury. A lawyer can help you get started on your workers’ compensation case as soon as possible.
Steps to Take in Order to Qualify for Workers’ Compensation in Los Angeles
The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) explains what you should do to pursue workers’ compensation for your injury. After receiving emergency medical treatment, if needed, you will need to report your injury to your employer as soon as you can. Once you do this, your employer must provide you with a workers’ compensation form within one business day of receiving your injury report. You can then file your claim by filling out the paperwork and returning it to your employer.
Be sure to continue receiving medical care during this time for follow-up care, tests, surgeries, and other injury-related concerns. Note that your doctor cannot bill you directly for the care you receive; instead, they will process it through your workers’ compensation claims administration. It will provide payment for medical treatment deemed that is needed to treat or heal the injury.
Qualifications for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you have missed more than three days of work as a result of your injury or had to stay overnight in the hospital, you may receive workers’ compensation disability benefits. The types and amounts you may qualify for vary based on how long you had to miss work, whether or not you can return, and if your injury left you with a permanent disability.
Temporary Disability Benefits
If you have suffered a work-related injury on the job in Los Angeles, cannot return to work right away, and did not receive an offer for a different position with the same regular wage by your employer, temporary disability benefits can help cover some of your losses while you recover.
If you cannot work at all during your recovery period, you may qualify for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, which pay up to two-thirds of your regular, pre-tax income. If you can work but do not make the same wages as you did prior to your injury, you may receive up to two-thirds of the difference in temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits.
Once you receive temporary disability benefits, you can continue to receive them until your doctor says you can return to work, or you receive the maximum allowance of TTD for your injury. As of 2020, victims of workplace injuries can collect TTD benefits for up to 104 weeks within a five-year period or 240 weeks for certain chronic conditions.
Permanent Disability Benefits
According to the DIR, those who do not recover from their injuries may qualify for lifetime permanent disability benefits. You can still work and receive permanent disability benefits, but even if you cannot work, it may not cover the extent of your lost income.
Your doctor determines whether you qualify for permanent disability through workers’ compensation by continuously evaluating your condition. If they find that your condition will not improve, they will write a report to your claims administrator explaining your condition, how it limits your ability to work, future medical care you may need, and how much liability your employer holds for causing the injury.
From there, you will receive a disability rating from 1% through 100%. Those who receive a 100% ranking qualify for permanent total disability (PTD) and the amount of pay provided to them weekly depends on their specific condition. For those who rank 99% and under, the employer offers permanent partial disability (PPD) to help fill in the financial gaps created by your injury.
Other Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you currently receive PPD benefits and suffered your injury after 2004, you may also qualify for a vocational program called Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits (SJDB), which provides victims of occupational injuries with up to $6,000 for retraining and education at California schools. SJDB recipients whose injuries occurred on or after January 1, 2013, may also receive a one-time Return-to-Work supplement of $5,000 to help them get back on their feet and find better opportunities for employment.
A Lawyer Can Help You with Your Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Claim
While certain workers’ compensation cases involve simple claims, victims may find that more complex cases can make achieving adequate compensation for their injuries difficult. The lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you file your claim, push back against employers and insurance companies, and pursue the workers’ compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (800) 529-9122 to speak with our legal team about your free case evaluation.