Temporary Disability Benefits Under California’s Workers’ Compensation Law
When the unfortunate event of injury occurs at work, California’s workers’ compensation system acts to protect employees. After an injury, an employee may file a claim seeking benefits to recover compensation for medical treatment, lost income from missed work, and other losses. An integral part of the claim process is determining what type of disability a workplace injury constitutes. There are two categories: temporary and permanent. Here, we will explore the category of temporary disabilities.
What is a Temporary Disability?
Even within the broader temporary disability category, there are subcategories of total temporary disabilities and partial temporary disabilities. A total temporary disability is one that completely prevents an employee from working for a certain period of time. A partial temporary disability, as its name implies, only prevents an employee from working for part of a certain period of time, or from performing some, but not all, job duties for a certain period of time.
The categorization of a temporary disability is determined by a doctor in accordance with standards set by the American Medical Association. The primary standard is that of “reasonable medical probability.” Using this standard, a doctor provides a diagnosis as to how long, and to what extent, an injury will affect an employee’s ability to work. In the case of a leg injury, if a doctor determines that the injury has rendered an employee in California totally temporarily disabled for a period of two weeks, then the employer’s state-required workers’ compensation insurance will step in to pay two-thirds of the employee’s salary during the time that the employee is unable to work because of the leg injury. It is important to understand that there is a limit on the amount of time an insurer will be required to pay benefits arising from disability categorized by a doctor as temporary. An insurer will only be required to pay temporary disability benefits to an employee for two years during a five-year period. This is the case for even total temporary disability unless an exception applies. Exceptions include high-velocity eye injuries and amputations. Additionally, exceptions may apply for multiple injuries, so long as they are separate and distinct from one another.
What To Do If You Have Suffered A Workplace Injury in California
If you have suffered a workplace injury in California, you will need to navigate the state’s sometimes complex workers’ compensation system. It is a process that can be an unneeded stress at a time when you are already dealing with the pain of injury while adjusting to both your work and personal responsibilities. While receiving medical treatment for your injuries, you will need a doctor to determine the nature and extent of your injuries, as they relate to your ability to perform the duties of your job. Time for recovery must be allowed, and a claim for workers’ compensation benefits must be filed. Your ability to earn a living affects virtually every facet of your life. Don’t let a work-related injury compromise that ability; contact an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney today to determine your rights and the forms of compensation you may be entitled to.