How Does Workers’ Comp Pay for Lost Wages in CA?
One of the most important reasons to file a California workers’ compensation claim after a job-related injury or illness is to recover your lost wages. Many types of work accidents force the injured employee out of work for doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and recovery time. In the most severe cases, the victim may never be able to return to his or her position after suffering a serious, disabling injury.
You don’t have to take a total loss in terms of income while you recover from a personal injury. The state workers’ comp system provides lost wage reimbursement, within limits, for employees who have to miss work because of an occupational injury or illness. You may also qualify for additional wage restitution through a personal injury claim, depending on the details of your case. Contact one of our experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyers to explore all of your wage replacement options.
Temporary Disability Wage Replacement Benefits
The California workers’ comp system offers two types of disability benefits: temporary and permanent. Temporary disability (TD) benefits provide payments over a set amount of time to make up for a worker’s lost wages. While an employee recovers, he or she may qualify for TD lost wage benefits if unable to perform the usual duties of the job. The employee may receive these benefits until he or she can return to work.
TD benefits pay an injured employee two-thirds of his/her lost gross wages during recovery. However, an employee can only receive up to the maximum amount under state law. In California, this maximum is currently $1,215.27 per week (2018). The minimum weekly payment is $182.29. These amounts change each year according to the statewide average wage. To qualify for TD benefits, you must miss at least three days of work due to your injury or illness. You can also qualify for two-thirds lost wage benefits if you can return to work under stipulations, such as part-time instead of full-time.
Permanent Disability Benefits
In the event of a permanently disabling injury, a covered California employee can receive permanent disability (PD) workers’ comp benefits. A medical evaluator must determine that you can no longer work because of your level of impairment, and that this state will last for the foreseeable future. The workers’ comp system will rate your permanent disability using factors such as the severity of impairment, your age, and your occupation. You will then receive lost wage benefits according to your disability percentage; again, up to a maximum amount.
Job Displacement Benefits
A third type of lost wage payment in California is supplemental job displacement benefits. You may qualify for supplemental benefits if your employer doesn’t offer modified or alternative work you can perform during recovery within 60 days of a medical evaluation that classifies your injury as permanently disabling. These benefits come in the form of a $6,000 voucher. The amount stays the same regardless of your level of disability. You may use this voucher for job training, licensing, certification, tools, tests, equipment, or other expenses relating to acquiring another job.
How can I get Full Wage Recovery from my Work Injury Case?
Two-thirds of your average weekly wage might not be enough to pay your bills or enjoy the same quality of life you did before your work accident. Luckily, you may have other means by which to obtain greater lost wage reimbursement. If a third party (someone other than your employer) was negligent and this negligence contributed to your accident, you may have grounds to file a third-party workplace accident claim in California.
A personal injury claim on top of workers’ compensation could bridge the gap between what you used to make and what you can receive through TD or PD benefits. You may even be able to recover 100% of your lost wages – an achievement a lawyer can help you accomplish.