This is often the first question that our clients ask when they have been injured in the workplace and the answer to that is that it depends on the type and severity of the injury you have suffered. In general, employees with more serious and debilitating injuries, especially those that result in permanent impairment that impacts their ability to work, will receive larger financial benefits for workers’ compensation claims.
Types Of Workplace Injuries
There are two main types of workplace injuries. The first type of workplace injury happens as the result of some type of accident at work such as a slip and fall or car accident. The second type of injury is one that develops over time and is often caused by repetitive movements as part of an employee’s job duties.
We frequently see these injuries with office employees who have suffered upper extremity injuries caused by repetitive office work such as filing and data entry. We also see these injuries with healthcare employees who have sustained back injuries due to repetitive heavy lifting on the job.
Types Of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Generally, California workers’ compensation benefits may include the following:
- Medical care
- Disability benefits
- Supplemental job displacement benefits
- Death benefits
Employees who have suffered workplace injuries are entitled to compensation for reasonable and necessary medical care related to their injuries. Sometimes disputes arise as to whether or not medical care is reasonable and necessary and these disputes may be resolved by an independent medical review.
An independent medical review organization will be hired at the employer’s expense to review the employee’s injuries and the prescribed medical care that is in dispute. The organization will decide whether or not the medical care in question is reasonable and necessary to cure or relieve the workplace injury symptoms.
Employees who are unable to work due to their injuries may be eligible for disability benefits. There are two types of disability benefits, temporary and permanent.
- Temporary disability benefits – You are entitled to temporary disability benefits if your work injuries prevent you from returning to work while you recover from your injuries. Benefits begin on the fourth day that you miss work due to your injuries. There are no benefits for the first three days of missed work unless you miss 14 days of work or are hospitalized overnight. Temporary benefits are calculated at two-thirds of your average weekly salary subject to the legal maximum payment.
- Permanent disability benefits – Permanent disability benefits are for employees whose workplace injuries result in permanent impairment. Calculating permanent disability payments depends on the severity of your disability and whether or not you may return to work. Employees with a permanent partial disability who suffer permanent impairment but are physically able to return to work in some capacity are still eligible for permanent disability benefits and they may also be eligible for supplemental job displacement benefits described below.
Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
Under certain circumstances, supplemental job displacement benefits may be available for employees who have suffered permanent partial disabilities.
For injuries that occurred after January 1, 2013, injured employees may be eligible for $6,000 vouchers to be used for education-related training or skill enhancement.
For injuries that occurred prior to 2013, injured employees may be eligible for vouchers between $4,000 and $10,000 depending on the severity of the injuries.
Spouses, children, and other dependents of employees who sustained fatal injuries or illnesses at work may be entitled to financial recovery under workers’ compensation. Death benefits may include lost wages and burial expenses.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The California workers’ compensation process can be very complicated, especially for injured employees who do not have adequate legal representation. Only experienced workers’ compensation attorneys should be trusted to handle work injury claims. Insurance companies and employers can be very difficult to deal with when it comes to employee injuries and these claims are often wrongly denied or significantly underpaid.
Workers’ compensation attorneys will help injured employees throughout the entire recovery process and will deal with difficult insurers who simply want to close your case quickly and pay you as little as possible. They will help you select a treating doctor that cares about your rights and will provide you with the medical care that you need.
They will make sure that you have all necessary information and evidence to submit with your claim or appeal. Perhaps most importantly, you are more likely to receive maximum work injury benefits when you have a workers’ compensation attorney advocating for your rights and financial recovery.