In California workers’ compensation cases, injuries are often classified as either temporary or permanent disabilities, each with specific implications for the injured worker and the compensation they receive.
Temporary disability refers to an injury or illness that temporarily prevents an employee from performing their regular job duties. During this period, the injured worker is unable to work but is expected to recover partially or fully over time. Temporary disability benefits are designed to partially replace the lost wages during the recovery period. In California, these benefits are generally paid at two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, subject to a maximum limit set by the state.
Permanent disability, on the other hand, refers to a long-term or permanent impairment resulting from a workplace injury or illness. It implies that the injured worker’s condition has reached a state where they are not expected to fully recover. Permanent disability benefits are aimed at compensating the injured worker for the lasting impact of the injury on their ability to work and perform daily activities.
If you are unable to work due to your industrial injury and your claim has been accepted, the insurance carrier will pay you temporary disability benefits while you are unable to work. These benefits are paid at a rate of 2/3 of your average weekly wage at the time of your injury.
For example, if your average weekly earnings are $300 per week, you will receive benefit payment at $200 per week. It generally takes approximately 2 weeks from the time your claim is accepted for the carrier to begin paying these benefits.
If you have a second job and if you are unable to work at that job due to the industrial injury at your other job, the insurance carrier must take into consideration all earnings at the time of your injury in order to calculate your benefit rate.
For example, if you earn $200 per week from the employer where the injury took place and you also earn $100 per week from a second source, your benefit rate will be based on the entire income of $300 per week, making your benefit rate $200 per week. If you have such concurrent income, you must provide documents to support the additional income in the form of pay stubs, etc. to the insurance carrier, or your attorney if represented.
If you are released to return to work on a part-time basis and are working less than your normal full hours, you are potentially entitled to partial temporary disability benefits in addition to your wages. How this works is that you are entitled to 2/3 your average weekly wage whether you are working part time or not at all.
For example, if your wages were regularly $300 per week, you would be entitled to benefits in the amount of $200 per week. If you return to part-time work and make less than $200 per week in wages, you would be entitled to temporary disability only in the amount that makes up the difference between your earnings and the $200 cap. Such as, you earn $150 per week in wages, you would then be entitled to $50 from the carrier for the difference.
However, if you earn more than the $200 cap you would not be entitled to any additional benefits.
Of course, but your benefits will be limited to medical treatment, permanent disability benefits, etc. You will not be entitled to temporary disability benefits as this benefit is only paid if you are unable to work due to your workers’ compensation injury.
The answer to this is a resounding NO. Temporary disability benefits are to compensate you for being unable to work. It is unfortunate, but the law does not look at the financial hardships an industrial injury places on individuals and it is considered fraud to accept temporary disability benefits, state disability benefits, or even vocational rehabilitation maintenance allowance if you are working or receiving income from any source (even from self-employment, “working under the table,” or income from a business in a spouse’s name.) If it is determined that you have fraudulently accepted disability benefits while not entitled to them, you could be prosecuted for criminal acts.
The insurance companies are vigorously campaigning to expose workers’ compensation fraud and are actively pursing cases against injured workers who have misrepresented their injuries, filed false claims or that have accepted disability benefits while they were also receiving income from another source. Therefore, if you do receive income while receiving any of these benefits, immediately report the income to the insurance carrier.
Permanent and stationary does not necessarily mean that you have recovered from your injuries only that you have reached a level in your condition that is not expected to greatly improve or decline.
Once you have been found permanent and stationary either by your treating physician or any evaluating physician, your bi-weekly payments change to permanent disability advances. Permanent Disability does not necessarily mean that you have recovered from your injuries only that you have reached a level in your condition that is not expected to greatly improve or decline.
Permanent Disability Advances are bi-weekly payments based on your average weekly wage, a schedule issued by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, and the defendants’ estimation of the value of the residual permanent disability you have sustained from your industrial injury. These payments will continue on a bi-weekly basis until either settlement is reached, or the insurance carrier advances the full estimate of the case. Further, each of these payments will be claimed as a credit against any settlement you receive.
In order to assist in verifying any credit for these payments the insurance company may claim at settlement, it is very important that you keep clear and accurate records of each payment you receive.
No, permanent disability does not mean you are permanently totally disabled. Many people have permanent disability that has little or no affect on their daily lives. All this means is that you have residual problems from your injury that will require permanent restrictions of the physical abilities you can perform in your work. The value of this permanent disability will vary from person to person based on when you were injured, the body part injured, the job you had at the time of your injury and your age. These factors are calculated from a Schedule put out by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to determine the value of your residual disability.
Have you suffered a serious work injury? Contact our work compensation attorneys for FREE consultation about your California workers compensation claim benefits. We’ve been helping injured workers since 1987 and are certified by the State Bar of California.
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