Santa Ana Permanent Disability Worker’s Compensation Claims

When an occupational illness or injury leaves you completely disabled, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation permanent disability benefits. In other cases, you may have permanent partial disability, the amount of the benefit being dependent on how much disability you can prove that you have.  In almost all cases, you will need to fight to receive the full compensation you deserve for your injury.

Perhaps you received a disability rating that does not reflect your degree of impairment, or an insurer believes did not suffer any permanent disability and you need to appeal its decision. To learn more about your eligibility for Santa Ana permanent disability worker’s compensation claims, give us a call. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney could help you pursue the payments you need and deserve.

Temporary Disability Benefits Under Workers’ Compensation

If a work-related injury or illness keeps an employee out of work for at least three days, they are eligible for temporary disability benefits. The benefits pay the employee a portion of their pre-injury wage for the time that their work-related condition prevents them from doing their job. If they can work limited hours or under different conditions than their original job, temporary disability will pay a portion of the difference between the wages they can earn with their condition and their pre-injury wages.  Often, the insurance company will not use the appropriate pre-injury wages which will lead to you getting less then you should.  An attorney can help you provide evidence that your pre-injury wages should be higher.

A doctor must examine the worker at least once every 45 days and report their condition to the workers’ compensation insurer. When an injury reaches worker’s condition will not improve with further treatment, the California Code of Regulations §10152 allows doctors to report that a condition has reached a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). Once a worker reaches MMI, they are no longer eligible for temporary disability payments.

Sometimes a doctor declares the worker has reached MMI because they have completely recovered from their work-related condition. In other cases, the doctor believes that further treatment will not result in improvement even though the worker has some remaining impairment. The worker or the workers’ compensation insurer could request a second opinion if they disagree with a doctor’s MMI determination. A Santa Ana attorney who understands workers’ compensation permanent disability cases could help an employee challenge an MMI finding.

Disability Ratings Explained

If a worker receives an MMI determination because a work-related injury will not completely heal, they will receive a disability rating. A disability rating describes the degree of an injury’s impact on a worker’s ability to earn a living, expressed as a percentage.

When determining a disability rating, doctors must consider the type of work an employee did when they suffered the work-related condition, the extent of their permanent functional impairment, and the medical interventions necessary to treat the condition and keep it from worsening. Some injuries, such as blindness or complete paralysis, automatically merit a 100 percent disability rating. Other types of injuries or illnesses could result in a 100 percent disability rating, depending on circumstances. Often, the degree of disability is less than 100 percent, in which case the individual is expected to re-enter the workforce in some capacity.

Challenging a Disability Rating

The disability rating determines the benefits a worker receives. A worker with a 100 percent disability rating could receive two-thirds of their pre-injury wage for the rest of their life. In such cases, a worker’s compensation insurer might offer the worker a lump sum payment to settle their permanent disability claim. A disabled worker should consult an attorney before accepting any lump sum offer.

If a worker’s disability rating is less than 100 percent, they will receive payments for a length of time that depends on the date of their injury and their disability rating. In the case of a lower disability rating, there is a chance that neither the amount the worker receives nor the duration of their benefits will provide adequate support.

A dedicated attorney in Santa Ana could help an employee appeal a disability rating to ensure they get benefits for the entire time they cannot work due to their permanent injury. A lawyer could bring an appeal before the local worker’s compensation appeals board. If the appeals board does not find in the worker’s favor, bringing a court action could be appropriate in a specific case.

Trust Our Attorneys with Santa Ana Permanent Disability Worker’s Compensation Claims

When a work-related injury or illness permanently limits your ability to earn a living, you deserve the maximum compensation available under the circumstances. Unfortunately, insurance companies might question your entitlement to benefits or try to unfairly limit how much you could receive.

You stand a better chance of navigating Santa Ana permanent disability worker’s compensation claims if you have a savvy lawyer fighting for you. Call today to talk with an experienced legal professional.