Learning The Coverage Of Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation is a comprehensive benefit that covers medical bills and lost wages, among other things. In some cases, it also covers expenses stemming from vocational rehabilitation – that is, learning a new profession if you’re unable to perform your job activities as you did before your accident.
In addition to zealously fighting for your rights as an injured worker, I, Howard J. Stevens, also dedicate my practice to educating my Southern California clients about their rights. As you discuss your case with me, I will thoroughly explain how the insurance carrier will pay your workers’ compensation according to your type of disability. Your case is unique, and I am ready to help you at my firm, the Law Office of Howard J. Stevens, APC.
Types Of Disability Payments To Which You Are Entitled
According to workers’ compensation statutes, you are entitled to various types of disability payments, described below.
Temporary Total Disability
Temporary total disability payments may be payable to you for each day a doctor certifies that you should be off work. By statute, the benefit will be calculated at two-thirds of your average weekly earnings at the time of your injury, but it is subject to certain maximum and minimum limits set by law. The limits are often different from year to year.
For injuries occurring in 2016, for instance, the maximum temporary disability payment you could receive was $1,128.43 and the minimum you could receive was $169.26 per week. The maximum term for which you can receive these benefits is 104 weeks (cumulative) within five years of the date of your injury. However, the payments will stop when you return to your job, your treating physician says your medical condition has reached maximum improvement or your employer offers you work within your present limitations as prescribed by your doctor. The benefit is not taxable.
Permanent Partial Disability
Permanent partial disability is payable once your medical condition has stabilized and a doctor indicates that you have a permanent disability. These payments are made at two-thirds of your average weekly earnings at the time of your injury, but the limits for these payments are lower.
For injuries occurring in 2016, the maximum weekly payment rate for injuries of less than 100% total disability was $290 per week and the minimum was $160. If your date of injury is from a previous year, the maximum and minimum rates will be lower and determined by the rates in effect for that year of injury.
The length of time you may expect to receive permanent partial disability payments depends on your percentage of disability, ranging from 0% to 100%, and that calculation is dependent on what a doctor says, translated by a complex statutory formula that takes multiple factors into account, including:
- The type of injury
- The severity of the residual impairment
- Your occupation at the time of your injury
- Your age when injured
The calculation, called a “rating,” is one of the most litigated aspects of workers’ compensation cases. Often, disagreements over the nature and extent of work-related disability are tendered to a neutral doctor to resolve. At other times, a difference of opinion regarding the rating is resolved by a negotiated compromise.
Life pensions may be payable if your disability rating is 70% or more. The benefit is payable for life and is subject to periodic increases based on increases in the state average weekly wage. Payments begin after the full length of the permanent disability has been paid out. Due to the application of cost of living increases and depending on your age at the time the life pensions payments would be predicted to begin, the value of this benefit could be quite substantial.
Get The Legal Advice And Assistance You Deserve
Call my firm, the Law Office of Howard J. Stevens, APC, today at 619-880-4501 or send an email message to request a detailed case review. I can meet you at your home or hospital room if you are unable to travel to my office due to your injuries.