If you have been injured at work in the state of California, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries under the California Workers’ Compensation Act. Along with medical bills, you may be able to also get paid for the time you are unable to work because of your injuries.
Contact our California workers’ compensation attorneys at Kneisler and Schondel to get started today with representation for your work comp injury case. Our experienced attorneys have years of experience fighting for the rights of injured workers. Call us today for your free consultation.
Temporary Total Disability Payments
In California, if you are off work due to your work-related injury, you may be eligible to collect total temporary disability (TTD) payments for the time you are off work. There are exceptions, but generally, you are entitled to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wages in temporary total disability payments. Your average weekly wages include all sources and all forms of income that you receive through your work, such as wage payments, tips, commissions, bonuses.
If you have a second job other than the one at which you were injured, make sure that you tell your attorney about your other job. Your second job matters because your income at your second job can also be added to your total wages, and you can get two-thirds of that income included in your TTD payments if your injury also precludes you from working that job.
There are also maximum and minimum weekly rates for temporary disability payments. For example, as of 2018, if your weekly earnings were $273.44 or less, the minimum rate will apply, and you will be able to collect $182.29 per week. The maximum TTD payments you can receive each week is $1,215.27. In 2019, the minimum rate will rise to $187.71, and the maximum rate will go up to $1,251.38. The minimum and maximum rates are adjusted annually and are based around the state average weekly wage.
Temporary Partial Disability Payments
While temporary total disability payments are a benefit you can receive if you are taken off of work due to your injury, temporary partial disability payments are benefits you can receive if you are working fewer hours due to your work-related injuries. It also will apply if you are working a different position with your employer (sometimes known as light duty) and earning less money than you made at your normal position. The temporary partial disability payments will be two-thirds of the difference between what you are earning and what you should be earning based on your former wage rate. Both temporary total and temporary partial disability payments are tax-free.
When Can I Receive Temporary Total or Temporary Partial Disability Payments?
You can start receiving disability payments when your doctor states that you are unable to perform your usual work duties for three days or more. At this point, you may be taken off work completely or given a light duty schedule doing work within your restrictions, if it is available. You may also start receiving disability payments if you are hospitalized overnight. The state requires payments to be made at least every two weeks.
Your disability payments will stop once you return to work, or when the doctor says that you are able to return to work. Your payments may also stop if the doctor has determined that you have reached maximum medical improvement—meaning that your condition has improved as much as it can.
Though there are certain exceptions, generally, if you were injured at work after January 1, 2008, your disability payments won’t go on for more than 104 weeks during a period of five years from the date of injury. For long-term injuries such as chronic lung disease or serious burns, your disability payments may be paid for longer than 104 weeks. The limit under California law for these types of injuries is 240 weeks of disability payments during a five-year period.
Getting Started with Temporary Total Disability Payments
While you may be taken off work for your work injury and ready to start receiving temporary total disability payments, sometimes there is a delay getting the payments started. The most common reason for this at the beginning of your claim is that your claim may still be under investigation by the insurance adjuster. If there is a delay for this reason, the state requires that the adjuster send you a letter that explains why you are not receiving payments and what additional information is necessary to make the decision whether your claim is accepted or not.
The attorneys at Kneisler & Schondel are ready to help you get the compensation you are entitled to for your work injuries. Give us a call today at (707) 542-5132 or fill out your online contact form to get started.