Under the California Workers’ Compensation Law, injured workers may be eligible to receive one of four basic benefits:
- Temporary disability, which pays at a rate of two-thirds of the injured worker’s average weekly wage (up to a maximum set each year by law). Temporary disability is paid only when a doctor states that an employee is unable to continue working due to the work-related injury. These payments may continue until the employee is cleared to return to work or until the condition is determined by the doctor to be “permanent and stationary.” Permanent and stationary (or “maximum medical improvement”) means the condition is stabilized and not expected to improve or decline; it does not mean the employee no longer requires healthcare treatment.
- Medical treatment is ostensibly available to California’s injured workers. Many employers and insurers have established a medical provider network (MPN) for treating work-related injuries. If your employer has an MPN, you must be treated for your job-related injury through that list of doctors. Under California law, an injured employee has a legal right to all reasonable and necessary medical care to cure or relieve the effects of the injury.
- Permanent partial disability payments may be provided, after you are declared permanent and stationary, if a doctor determines that your workplace injury has been the cause of a permanent impairment or a permanent disability. For payment purposes, a permanent disability is ranked between zero percent to 100 percent; at 100 percent, it’s impossible for an injured employee to work in any role whatsoever.
- Vocational retraining vouchers are available to some workers who cannot return to their previous job.
If you have suffered a work-related injury that prevents you from continuing to work, immediately seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. You may recover medical expenses, and you may be eligible for temporary or permanent disability payments, but you’re going to need the savvy legal expertise that only a good workers’ compensation lawyer can provide.
If you have been the victim of a work-related injury, please speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as quickly as possible.