California workers' compensation is a no-fault system of providing benefits to employees injured within the course and scope of their employment. Unlike personal injury claims through civil court, an injured worker need only demonstrate that he or she suffered a compensable injury to qualify for compensation benefits. The system is both compulsory and exclusive, meaning every employer is required to carry workers' compensation insurance and an injured worker's sole legal remedy for most work related injuries is to file a workers' compensation claim. Because workers' compensation insurance is compulsory and injured workers need not prove fault, an injured worker is entitled to limited benefits. The following are explanations of the types of benefits an injured worker is entitled to throughout a workers' compensation claim:
Every injured worker is entitled to medical treatment reasonably necessary to cure or relieve the effects of the injury. Your employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier will cover the costs of these medical expenses as long as your claim is accepted and you treat with physicians within the carrier's approved network of doctors. The insurance carrier must continue to pay for your medical expenses as long as you suffer from the effects of your injury. Although the workers' compensation system is designed to provide medical treatment quickly and efficiently, often times, medical treatment is unduly delayed or denied prohibiting the injured worker from recovering properly from their injuries. Our firm vigilantly monitors each client's case to ensure treatment is provided in a timely manner. We routinely appeal all denied treatment while aggressively pursuing all legal remedies for improperly delayed or denied treatment.
Temporary Disability benefits are available to injured workers who are unable to return to work while recovering from an industrial injury. If the insurer has accepted liability for your claim of injury and you are certified off-work by a workers' compensation physician, or you are given work restrictions that your employer is unable to accommodate, you are entitled to 2/3rds of your average weekly wage earned at the time of your injury. This benefit is paid every two weeks for a total of 104 weeks (2 years) within 5 years of the date of your injury. Additionally, if you are losing hours from work due to your injury you may also be entitled to compensation for your wage loss.
Permanent Disability is any lasting disability from a work related injury that effects your ability to earn a living. Your workers' compensation physicians will assess if your injury has resulted in any permanent impairment once they determine your condition has reached maximum medical improvement. If your injury does result in permanent impairment, then you may be entitled to additional compensation for your residual disability.
Job Training Voucher
Employees with industrial injuries that result in Permanent Disability who are not offered appropriate return work by their employer within 60 days of termination of Temporary Disability benefits may qualify for a Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit (SJDB). The SJDB comes in the form of a voucher which can be used to cover school tuition, fees, books and other school-related expenses to help retrain the injured worker. The amount of the voucher varies from $4,000 to $10,000 depending on your date of injury and your level of Permanent Disability.
Return-to-Work Supplement Program
For dates of injury on or after 1/1/2013, an injured worker who receives a Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit voucher may apply for a one-time payment of $5,000 from California's Return-to-Work Supplement Program. Our firm can take care of this application process for you.
Injured workers are also entitled to reimbursement for mileage driven to obtain medical treatment for their industrial injuries. You can use this Mileage Reimbursement Form to log your medical mileage. We review all medical mileage logs for accuracy prior to submission to the insurer for reimbursement on your behalf.
For additional information about the California workers' compensation system, you may contact us directly through our website or by phone. Prospective and current clients may also read through and obtain our New Client Information packet by clicking here.