If you are a California worker who has been injured in a work accident, you may be wondering how long workers’ compensation benefits are available. California’s workers’ compensation law does include benefits for workers who suffer long-term injuries. The benefits will depend on how severe and permanent the lasting disability is due to the injury, as well as the average weekly wage the injured worker was making prior to the work accident.
California Workers’ Compensation Attorney
At Kneisler and Schondel, our California workers’ compensation attorney has many years of experience handling different types of workers’ compensation cases. Whether your work injury is minor, or it is a long-term, permanent injury, our attorney will help you fight for the benefits you deserve. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights.
Reaching Permanent and Stationary Status
When you have reached a plateau in your treatment, your primary treating doctor may make a determination that your condition is “permanent and stationary.” This means that you have recovered from your injuries to the fullest extent possible.
At this point in time, your doctor will issue a Permanent and Stationary Report. This report will be sent to the claims administrator. The permanent and stationary report will include:
- Any work restrictions or limitations
- Expected future medical care
- A description of any specific medical problems, including pain levels and range of motion for injured body parts
- Whether or not you can return to your former job
- An estimate of what percentage of your disability was caused by your work-related injury, compared to how much of the disability is caused by other factors.
Your Permanent Disability Rating
When you have completed active treatment, and your condition has become permanent and stationary, a permanent disability rating will be assigned. The rating is expressed as a percentage.
This percentage estimates how much your disability limits your functional limitations, and affects your Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). Your permanent disability benefits are based on this rating.
The rating is based on several different factors. These factors include your medical condition (as stated in the permanent and stationary report). Other factors include your date of injury, the age you were when you got injured, your occupation (based on what it was at the time you got injured), and also how much of your disability has been caused by your job (compared to how much it was caused by other factors—called apportionment).
Finally, this rating is multiplied by an adjustment factor. If your injury occurred on January 1, 2013, or later, then your rating will be multiplied by 1.4 to get your final rating.
If your rating is 100%, that means you are permanently and totally disabled. If your rating is between 1 and 99%, then you have a permanent partial disability.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Long-Term Injuries
If you have a permanent partial disability, you may receive the full amount of your permanent disability benefits spread out over a fixed number of weeks. If your disability is permanent and total, then you may receive permanent disability benefits for the rest of your life.
If you settle your case, the value of these future payments will be calculated and figured into your settlement. Your settlement will be a lump sum payment of all of your remaining benefits to close out your case. If you have a permanent total disability, your life expectancy will be calculated, and the value of your future payments will be based on that figure.
Settling Your Long-Term Injury Case
If you have a long-term injury, you may need to have ongoing medical care, even after your case has concluded. Your workers’ compensation attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement for you that includes extra compensation for any expected future medical costs.
Keep in mind that if you do settle your case and receive extra compensation for the anticipated future medical costs, any future medical costs are your responsibility—the insurance carrier will no longer pay for your ongoing treatment. Every case is unique, and your attorney will carefully explain all of the settlement terms to you before you agree to anything, but this is just something to consider.
If you have suffered a work-related long-term injury, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you pursue the benefits that you are entitled to. Contact the office of Kneisler and Schondel today at (707) 542-5132 or fill out our online contact form to get started with your workers’ compensation claim.