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A Closer Look at California’s Disability Compensation

Have you been injured at work?

If you are an employee and have been injured in the State of California, chances are you would be frequently confused and intimidated by the application of the different laws and procedures.

Remember, each case is different. The law or procedure applicable in one case may not be applicable to your case. Hence, it is best to consult a disability compensation attorney.

For better understanding of the benefits available to you, it is advisable to discuss the several benefits an injured worker is entitled to.

Workers’ Compensation System

Workers' compensation is the oldest social insurance program. It is a no-fault system, which means that the injured employees need not prove that the injury is caused by someone else's fault.

Under this system, an injured worker is entitled to benefits depending on the nature, date and severity of the injury:

  • Vocational rehabilitation services

    Injured workers who are unable to return to their former type of work are entitled to vocational rehabilitation services if these services can reasonably be expected to return the worker to suitable gainful employment.

    This includes the development of a suitable plan, the cost of any training, and a maintenance allowance while participating in rehabilitation.

  • Supplemental job displacement benefits

    This is a nontransferable voucher for the maximum amount of P10,000.00 intended for education-related retraining or skill enhancement, or both, payable to a state approved or accredited school if the worker is injured on or after January 1, 2004.

    To qualify, the injury must result in a permanent disability. The injured employee has not worked for 60 days after temporary disability ends and the employer does not offer modified or alternative work.

  • Medical Care

    Injured workers are entitled to receive all medical care reasonably required to cure or relieve the effects of the injury, with no deductible or co-payments by the injured worker.

    For dates of injury on or after Jan. 1, 2004, an injured worker is limited to 24 chiropractic and 24 physical therapy visits.

    Generally, the employer controls the medical treatment for the first 30 days after the injury is reported.

    However, if the employee has notified the employer in writing prior to the injury that he or she has a "personal physician" then the employee may be treated by that physician from the date of injury unless they agree for a managed care program.

  • Temporary disability benefits

    Workers who are unable to work within three (3) days are entitled to temporary disability benefits to partly replace wages lost as a result of the injury.

    The benefits are generally intended to restore 2/3 of the lost wages, up to a maximum of $728 per week. It is payable every two weeks and until the employee is able to return to work or until the employee's condition becomes permanent and stationary.

  • Permanent disability benefits

    A worker with a permanent partial disability gets weekly benefits for a period which increases with the percentage of disability, from four (4) weeks for a one percent permanent disability up to 694.25 weeks for a 99.75 percent disability.

    It is payable at 2/3 of the injured worker's average weekly wages, but are subject to a much lower maximum.

    As of January 1, 2004, the rates are $220 per week for disabilities less than 69.75 percent and $270 per week for disabilities rated at 70 to 99.75 percent.

    Those with a permanent partial disability of 70% or more also collect a small life pension which is a maximum of $257.69 per week.

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