Most people are familiar with the workers’ compensation system of California, but many do not take the time to fully review the details of their workers’ compensation coverage until they experience injuries at work. Even the most seemingly straightforward work injury claims can generate complex legal issues for affected workers, some of which can seem impossible to resolve at first.
You are likely to have many pressing legal questions after an injury at work, and one of the most common among those in this situation is how much compensation they can expect from their workers’ compensation claims. Generally, two forms of benefits are available through workers’ compensation: medical expense coverage and disability benefits. However, many factors influence how much you could potentially receive for your individual claim.
Almost everyone working is covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. The state requires all employers to have this insurance, even those that have just one employee. When it comes to eligibility to file a claim for workers’ compensation, an employee is covered even if they caused the injury themselves. However, there are exceptions to this. For example, the worker could be denied benefits if they caused their own injury because they were working while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
Filing the claim itself is similar to how one would file any other type of insurance claim, with a few notable exceptions. The claimant must provide appropriate documentation and undergo a medical exam by a workers’ compensation-approved physician. They will receive a disability rating that indicates the level of functional capacity they retain after their injury. This rating determines how much they can expect to receive in ongoing benefits and for how long.
Most injured workers who are approved for workers’ compensation benefits will receive temporary total disability benefits until such time as they are able to go back to work. However, some will qualify for partial disability benefits. If they can still work after their injury, but the injury has diminished their earning capacity, the insurance carrier may award partial disability benefits to offset the difference in their income.
If you qualify for partial disability benefits, it is imperative to understand your responsibilities under this type of arrangement. You will likely be required to submit medical reports throughout your recovery, and your benefits will cease once you are safely able to resume your prior job duties with your previous level of earning power. You must also report the amount of income you earn each week, and your partial disability benefits will fluctuate based on how much or how little you are able to earn.
Some individuals are left completely disabled from their workplace injuries and cannot work at all, even after recovering as much as is medically possible. Permanent disability benefits may be awarded to these individuals, but insurance carriers tend to offer large lump-sum settlements to avoid any ongoing financial liabilities to claimants. Ultimately, many factors can influence the final outcome of any workers’ compensation case, and it is crucial to have an attorney you can trust on your side to make the most of your impending claim.
Whenever an injured worker succeeds with a workers’ compensation claim, they can typically expect to obtain full compensation for all the medical expenses they face for the treatment of their injuries. Most will also qualify for disability benefits, and these are typically paid at a rate of about two-thirds of the injured workers’ average weekly wages during the year prior to the injury. For an accurate estimate of your settlement’s total potential value, you need to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible after an injury at work.
Every year, the state Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) increases the maximum amount of workers’ compensation benefits that may be awarded to an injured claimant. As of January 1, 2022, the maximum benefit amount increased to $1,539.71 per week. In the event that an injured claimant qualifies for permanent disability benefits, the most they can secure is $290 per week, but these benefits continue for life.
As long as you are eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, you can expect full coverage for all the medical expenses you face for the treatment of your injuries. This includes immediate medical treatment costs as well as all ongoing medical expenses you face for reaching maximum medical improvement. If you qualify for disability benefits, the amount you secure depends on how much income you earned prior to your injury and whether you have any residual functional capacity that allows you to continue working in any measure.
While you may be hesitant to invest in legal counsel while struggling with the financial effects of your recent workplace injury, the reality is that legal counsel you can trust is an invaluable asset if you intend to recover as fully as the law allows. Even after you account for your legal expenses, the counsel and support your attorney provides can significantly improve the results you could reach in all your recovery efforts.
The Barry Law Group has the legal experience you need on your side to recover as fully as possible from a workplace injury. California’s workers’ compensation laws are constantly shifting and changing, and it’s possible for countless variables to alter the course of any workers’ compensation claim. However, with the right workers’ comp attorney, you can recover as fully as state law allows, and our team can also provide guidance in any further legal recourse you are able to pursue outside of the workers’ compensation claim process. Contact our team today and schedule a consultation to learn more about the legal services we offer.
Barry Law Group is comprised of attorneys and longtime staff members who are committed to the success of your legal matter. The firm understands that for most litigation is uncharted worrisome and often terrifying.