It only takes one serious injury to end your career or at least force you into a lower-paid position than the one you currently hold. Workers’ compensation is a crucial protection for those who work for a living, as it protects them from the risk of an on-the-job injury.
You can count on workers’ compensation benefits when you get hurt at work and require medical treatment. If your job-related medical condition is significant enough to require inpatient medical care or a leave of absence during your recovery, you may also qualify for disability benefits.
Disability benefits help replace your paycheck until you can return to work. There are temporary and permanent disability benefits, as well as total and partial disability benefits. What basics does an injured worker need to know about disability benefits in California?
There are limits to what the state will pay
For temporary disability benefits, a worker can receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage. Workers who make more than that may be subject to maximum benefit limitations. The current rule aligns the maximum benefit amount with the state average weekly wage, which is currently $1,570.
Permanent benefits can vary drastically depending on how serious the work-acquired medical issue is and what it means for someone’s health.
How much you receive in disability pay when you need permanent disability benefits will largely depend on the extent of your injury. A qualified medical evaluator (QME) could help review your case and determine what, if any, permanent impact or injury will have on your livelihood.
What if your employer challenges your claim?
Significant workers’ compensation claims that may result in both disability and medical benefits could face challenges from injured workers’ employers. Companies may dispute the origin of the injury or the extent of its impact on someone’s job performance. A QME can also help resolve disputes about the nature of an injury or whether it truly prevents someone from doing their job.
Although disability benefits will not fully replace the wages you lost because of your injury, they can help you continue covering your basic expenses until your condition improves. You can also get medical benefits to cover your treatment costs. Learning the rules that govern workers’ compensation benefits in California will help you successfully connect with the benefits you need.