Orange County Permanent Disability Workers’ Compensation Claims

If you are employed either full or part-time in California, your employer by law must pay some benefits to help you if you are injured on the job. Mostly, you will have medical bills and temporary disability paid until you are able to return to work. Unfortunately, some injuries are so severe that you cannot return to work and others may leave you with permanent problems. For this reason, state law also accounts for lost earning capacity

Permanent Disability benefits are available to most workers irreparably harmed in a workplace accident or from an illness attributed to job conditions. If you are not expected to make a full recovery from a job injury, our skilled attorneys could help you seek workers’ compensation for permanent disability in Orange County.

How California Calculates Permanent Disability

A qualified physician in the Orange County area, familiar with California’s workers’ compensation system will evaluate injured employees applying for permanent disability to determine their percentage of disability from zero to 100 percent.

This percentage represents a patient’s ability to compete in the job market and is converted into a dollar amount by considering the patient’s occupation, age, and type of work. The dollar amount determined is then paid every two weeks, until the benefits have been paid.

Partial Versus Total

Patients whose percentage of disability is less than 100 percent but whose disability will affect them for a lifetime are tagged permanently, partially disabled. The higher the percentage rating means more money will be allocated to them.

Patients deemed permanently and totally disabled, with a rating of 100 percent disability, will receive maximum payments based on contributing factors for the rest of their lives. Those with disability ratings between 70 and 99 percent may be entitled to a life pension in addition to the permanent disability.

Process for Permanent Disability Rating

Determining a permanent disability rating begins with a treating physician or a Qualified Medical Examiner assigning a rating to each part of the body of an employee injured at work using the American Medical Association Guide. This rating is called a whole person impairment. For example, a nurse sustains a back injury trying to move a patient. The doctor studies MRI results and assesses pain and movement in the nurse’s back. The doctor theorizes in a report that the nurse has a 10 percent whole person impairment. This percentage is then extrapolated into a permanent disability ratings schedule (PDRS) by considering how the injury impacts a person’s ability to work in the future using job type, age, and other factors. Some steps in determining PDRS are:

  • Increasing the whole person impairment rating by 40 percent according to the Department of Industrial Relations, to convert the medical level of impairment to impairment related to the job
  • Adjust the percentage based on the job description and what body parts were injured because some injuries can make the employee worse off according to the job description; hand injuries affect computer operators more so than leg injuries
  • Factor employee’s age; the older the employee, the more impaired because training for a new career is less likely to be successful
  • Determine permanent disability using PDRS tables
  • Convert rating into the dollar amount to be paid for permanent disability

These calculations are not foolproof, and an injured employee who disagrees with the treating physician’s evaluation of permanent disability can ask for a qualified medical examiner or an agreed medical examiner to determine the level of disability. A worker’s compensation lawyer could defend an injured employee before a judge when permanent disability is an issue at the Workers Compensation Appeals Board, and these are located throughout California, in Orange County they are in Orange County and Anaheim.

Discuss Permanent Disability Workers’ Compensation Claims with an Orange County Attorney

California mandates that all employers must provide benefits to employees hurt on the job. This legal provision can be a lifeline to all employees doing their best to support their families. You are entitled to these benefits if you are hurt or become ill because of your job, whether you work full or part-time.

If you are injured and fear you cannot return to work, workers’ compensation for permanent disability in Orange County could be available. Call our firm to learn more.