If you have suffered a workplace injury, the immediate steps to take include reporting the injury to your employer, getting the medical treatment you need and contacting an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who routinely handles these types of matters with proven success. Obtaining your workers’ compensation benefits is crucial so you can get the medical attention, treatment and care you need and have the income to pay your bills while you are healing and recovering.
At Oktanyan Der-Grigorian Law Group, Inc. we will provide you with the knowledge and information you need to exercise your rights. California has a “no-fault” system when it comes to workers’ compensation. This means, if you were injured on the job, you don’t have to prove that your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. You may be entitled to compensation even if your own actions contributed to the accident. For more information about understanding your rights and the benefits you are entitled to, call our offices at 818-230-2428 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.
There are a number of benefits that are available through workers’ compensation to injured California workers. It is important that you understand these benefits and exactly what they cover before you file your claim. Workers’ compensation insurance provides five basic benefits.
Expenses Related to Medical Care
California workers’ compensation law requires employers and their insurers to pay for medical care that is reasonably required to help the employee heal and recover from his or her injuries. This means care that follows medical treatment guidelines provided by a doctor or medical professional. It is illegal under California law to bill a worker if they know the injury is or may be work-related.
Your regular doctor can treat you if you pre-designated your personal physician or medical group prior to your injury. The insurance company has the right to select your treating doctor for the first 30 days after your employer learns about your injury. After that time period you may be treated by a doctor or hospital of your choice. If you and the insurance company have a disagreement about your injury or treatment, a qualified medical evaluator or QME may evaluate you. It is important to know that your employer must pay for medical care if you get hurt on the job. You should never receive a medical bill as long as you filed a claim form and your doctor knows that the injury is work-related.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability (TD) benefits are payments you get if you lose wages because your injury prevents you from performing your regular job while recovering. Temporary disability pays two-thirds of the gross (pre-tax) wages you lose while you are recovering from your injuries. However, you cannot receive more than the maximum weekly amount set by law. You will be required to report all forms of income you receive from work including food, wages, lodging, tips, commissions, bonuses and overtime. You should also report earnings from other sources that you received at the time of your injury. TD payments begin when your doctor says you cannot do your usual work for more than three days or if you get hospitalized overnight. TD payments are made every two weeks.
These payments stop when you get back to work, or when your doctor releases you for work or when your doctor says that your injury has improved as much as it is going to improve. During this process, you may have a disagreement with your doctor about your treatment or injury evaluation. In such cases, a qualified medical evaluator or QME may evaluate you further. It is a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable workers compensation lawyer Los Angeles if you have any questions regarding TD benefits.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Permanent disability or PD refers to any catastrophic injuries you may have suffered on the job that affects your ability to return to work and make a future living. If your injury or illness results in a permanent or lifelong disability, you are entitled to these benefits. If you lose income, these benefits may not cover all the income lost. In order for you to receive permanent disability benefits, your doctor will have to conduct an examination and determine your impairment level, or how your injury affects your ability to perform your job. Your impairment level will be expressed as a percentage.
That percentage is then used in a formula, which also factors your age and occupation. In some cases, diminished future earning capacity might also be taken into consideration. A disability evaluator or the judge will calculate this formula and determine how much permanent disability benefits you are entitled to receive.
Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
If you are permanently injured or disabled and cannot return to work and your employer does not offer you alternative work accommodating your disability, you may be eligible to receive supplemental job displacement benefits. This benefit is provided with a non-transferable $6,000 voucher that can be used for training at a California public school or any other provider listed on the state’s eligible training provider list. The money may also be used to pay license, certification or testing fees or to purchase tools or equipment. No more than 10 percent of the value of the voucher can be used for vocational counseling. The voucher will expire within two years of being issued or five years from the date of injury, whichever comes later.
These are payments made to a spouse, children or other dependents if the worker dies on the job or due to a work-related illness. This includes burial expenses. The amount of the death benefit depends on the number of dependents. Death benefits are also paid at the temporary disability benefit rate, but not less than $224 per week.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
The experienced Glendale workers’ compensation lawyers at Oktanyan Der-Grigorian Law Group, Inc. represent injured workers throughout Southern California. We will evaluate your case at no cost and help you maximize your benefits and compensation. The workers’ compensation system is designed to protect injured workers. However, disputes are common. We will fight for your rights every step of the way and handle all related matters so you can focus on your recovery.
We represent undocumented workers throughout Southern California as well. To learn more about the services we provide, schedule a free initial meeting at our Glendale law office. Call us at 818-230-2428 or complete an online contact form for a prompt response.