In a world of uncertainties, knowing you won’t suffer financial hardship when you get injured at work provides peace of mind during a tough time. This assurance comes in the form of workers’ compensation benefits, which are designed to cover the medical care you need to recover from a workplace injury and partially replace your income until you’re able to return to work.
At Gerald Brody & Associates in San Diego, we help injured employees collect the benefits they deserve every day. Here’s a brief look at the five basic workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to under California law.
1. Medical care benefits
Medical benefits available through workers’ compensation include the hospital expenses necessary to diagnose and treat your injury. However, there are specific treatment guidelines your doctors must follow closely in order for the medical care to be fully covered.
In California, if you pre-designated your personal physician before you were injured, you can have him or her treat you for your work-related injuries. If you didn’t pre-designate a doctor, the claims adjuster handling your case has the right to select your doctor for the first 30 days after you reported your injury. Beyond that, you can continue treatment by the physician of your choice.
2. Temporary disability benefits
Temporary disability benefits are designed to compensate you for wages lost while you’re unable to work. A temporary total disability means you can’t work at all right now, but you will be able to some day. A temporary partial disability, on the other hand, means your injury prevents you from performing some parts of your job now, but that you should be able to return to your full duties in the future.
3. Permanent disability benefits
Permanent disability benefits compensate you for wages lost due to a workplace injury that prevents you from ever being able to fully perform your job functions again. A permanent total disability is serious enough as to where it prevents you from ever returning to work. A permanent partial disability only impairs you from performing certain parts your job.
Whether temporary or permanent, partial or total, you’re entitled to some form of disability benefit under workers’ compensation. The amount you receive depends on how much you were earning prior to your injury. In California, your weekly benefit amount is approximately 55 percent of the earnings shown in the highest quarter of your base period. It’s important to note that the first week of every claim is a non-payable waiting period.
4. Rehabilitation benefits
If you were injured on the job, rehabilitation benefits pay for the physical therapy required for you to return to work. Any training or counseling necessary for you to regain related skills and abilities are also paid for. Expenses covered may include tuition, books, and financial planning.
In some cases, an injury or illness will prevent you from ever being able to return to your former workplace. If this happens, rehabilitation benefits cover the costs of retraining and other expenses related to helping you become qualified for a different job.
5. Death benefits
When an employee dies from a workplace injury, his or her surviving dependents (such as a spouse, child, or sibling) are compensated for the loss of financial support. Parents of the deceased worker are also eligible to receive death benefits if they were financially dependent on the worker. Though not the main purpose of the death benefits, both funeral and burial expenses are covered.
Recovering from a work-related injury or illness requires enough of your energy. The last thing you need is your employer or claims adjuster questioning your treatment plan or disability payments, trying to prevent you from receiving the benefits you’re entitled to.
If you’re involved in a disagreement over an injury claim for workers’ compensation, give us a call at Gerald Brody & Associates. We’ve helped hundreds of injured employees resolve medical and disability disputes and ultimately receive the benefits they’re entitled to. We can do the same for you.