What Benefits Are California Workers Eligible for Through Workers’ Compensation?
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Workers' Compensation Laws in California
When most people think of California, they think of warm beaches and movie stars. But California residents know that it’s millions of workers who keep the state running. Whether you’re working on-set or on-site, workplace injuries can happen anywhere. When they do, Morgan & Morgan can fight for you. Our workers’ compensation attorneys navigate California workers’ compensation law to protect the rights of workplace injury victims, getting them the compensation they deserve. Here’s what you should know about California workers’ compensation law.
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What Is Workers’ Compensation?
In California, all employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance for all of their employees. This covers authorized medical care and partial wage replacement for workers who suffer an occupational injury or illness. The benefits you receive will depend on the nature of your injury and the extent to which it keeps you from your work. As an employee, you are required only to show that the injury happened on the job. You employer does not have to be at fault.
What Are Disability Benefits?
If you need to be away from your job for a work-related injury, you are likely eligible for disability benefits such as:
- Temporary Total Disability: You can receive temporary total disability (TTD) if you are unable to return to work for more than three days due to your condition or if you are hospitalized overnight. In California, TTD entitles you to two-thirds of your average weekly salary, with a minimum amount of $187.71 and a maximum amount of $1,251.38 as of 2019. Benefits continue until one of the following occurs:
- Your doctor says you can return to work.
- Your doctor concludes that your condition will not improve further, known as maximum medical improvement, or MMI.
- You have received TTD for 104 weeks.
- This may be extended to 240 weeks in the case of hepatitis B or C, amputations, severe burns, HIV, high velocity or chemical eye injuries, pulmonary fibrosis, or chronic lung disease.
- Temporary Partial Disability: If your doctor says you are able to return to work with reduced work hours or fewer units produced, you may be entitled to temporary partial disability (TPD). TPD pays two-thirds of the loss of average weekly wages. So if you earned $1,000 a week before getting hurt but can now earn only $500 a week, you would be entitled to two-thirds of the lost $500, or $333.33.
- Permanent Total Disability: If your doctor determines that you have a permanent disability that impedes your work, you may be entitled to permanent disability. Disabilities are rated by the Division of Workers’ Compensation as a percentage of one’s ability to compete in the open labor market. Only exceedingly rare injuries have a rating of 100% and entitle a person to permanent total disability (PTD). This percentage is put into a formula along with your age and occupation to determine the benefits you are entitled to.
- Permanent Partial Disability: Far more common in California is permanent partial disability (PPD), which pays a portion of your lost earnings based on your age, occupation, and the severity of your impairment. You may be entitled to additional compensation if your injury resulted in sleep disorders, psychiatric trauma, or sexual dysfunction.
What Else Is Covered?
Under California law, workers are provided additional benefits, including:
- Medical care such as doctor visits, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and travel to and from appointments
- Vocational rehabilitation if you can no longer fulfill the duties of your occupation
- Death benefits and funeral costs for the family of workers who died of a work-related injury
What if My Benefits Are Denied
Profit-seeking employers and insurance companies are always on the lookout for a way to avoid paying their fair share. They may attempt to claim that your injury was not work-related in order to deny you benefits. If you believe you are entitled to money but have been turned away, you may file a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed appeal with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. This process is often long and complicated, and best handled by an attorney. Morgan & Morgan is happy to help you file your appeal to put you in the best position to obtain the benefits you deserve.
Contact Morgan & Morgan
Although California is rather generous with workers’ compensation, the process for securing benefits requires a number of forms that must be filed within certain time windows. Navigating the process can constitute a job in itself. Morgan & Morgan can help you cut through the red tape to get you the compensation you deserve. To get started, fill out a free case evaluation.