Not every accident that happens on the job will result in permanent disability, but they may still be severe enough to qualify the injured worker for temporary disability benefits from California’s worker’s compensation system. Temporary benefits are intended to give injured workers the financial assistance they will need when an injury results in lost time from work while the worker is healing and recovering.
In order to begin the process of recovering temporary disability benefits, the injured worker will have to fill out a DWC 1 claim form. This form should have been given to the employee by the employer within one day of the employer’s discovery of the injury. Filling out the form is what opens a worker’s compensation case. The form should be filed within one year of the injury or the injured worker will not be able to collect temporary disability benefits.
Due to the fact that injured workers need medical attention much faster than a claim can be processed, the law allows a presumption of a valid claim if no decision is made on the claim within 90 days. While a claim is being considered, the injured worker will be able to qualify for up to $10,000 in medical treatment. If the employer fails to get the DWC 1 claim form to the employee within one day of finding out about the injury, the employee should request the form from the employer or the employer’s claims administrator. The form is also available online from the California Division of Workers’ Compensation website. If the employer refuses to provide the form, or accuses the employee of trying to make a false claim, the injury victim should speak with a disability benefits attorney right away.
There are two kinds of temporary disability benefits that an injury victim may qualify for; total and partial. Total temporary disability is paid to workers who are unable to work at all because of an injury, while partial temporary disability is paid to workers who are able to work, but not as much as they did prior to the injury. Temporary disability benefits are non-taxable, so the worker is free to use the total amount they receive without having to worry about being hit with a tax bill for the benefits from either the state or federal government.
Workers’ compensation benefits in California are administered by an adversarial system, which means that both parties, the victim claiming a right to benefits and the insurance company arguing against that right, often have to go up against each other in order to arrive at a fair amount of worker’s compensation benefits to award. If they try to work without the help of a disability benefits attorney, the accident victim may end up getting cheated out of benefits which he or she may actually be entitled to. No matter what kind of injury is sustained at work or how the injury occurred, so long as it occurred while working for an employer, the injured work accident victim may have a valid claim for worker’s compensation benefits, either temporary or permanent.