Workers’ Compensation – Four Main Benefits
At Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna, our goal is to help clients throughout the Monterey Peninsula obtain the maximum workers’ compensation benefits to which they are entitled. In most circumstances, you are entitled to four principal benefits depending on your situation:
You have the right to receive medical treatment for your work-related injury, paid for by your employer. During the first 30 days of your injury, your employer can tell you where to seek treatment for the first 30 days after they have notice of the injury. Under the California Labor Code, if you are not satisfied with the doctor, you may still demand a new medical doctor, chiropractor, or acupuncturist during the 30 days after your injury; your employer must provide you one within five days of the request. Otherwise, you may select your own.
Whether you demand a new doctor during the 30 days following your injury or not, once 30 days have passed since you notified your employer of the injury, you are free to select your own doctor as long as the office is "within a reasonable geographic area" and your employer has not established a medical provider network (MPN). If your employer has established an MPN, you are free to select a physician from the MPN list.
If your doctor indicates that you are temporarily unable to return to work, you are entitled to receive wage-replacement benefits while you are recovering from your work-related injury. Subject to a time limit, you are entitled to two-thirds of your lost wages as long as your doctor keeps you off work and you are recovering from your injury or illness.
The time limits are as follows:
- For injuries sustained prior to April 19, 2004, temporary disability payments are limited to 240 weeks within a five-year period from the date of the injury.
- For injuries sustained on or after April 19, 2004, temporary disability payments are limited to 104 weeks within a two-year period from the date you receive the first temporary disability payment.
If your injury causes a permanent disability, you are entitled to compensation for the disability even if you are ultimately able to return to work.
If you cannot return to your usual job, you may be entitled to job retraining benefits in the form of a Supplemental Job Displacement Voucher (SJDV). The available benefits include:
- Up to a $4000 SJDV for injuries resulting in less than a 15% disability
- Up to a $6000 SJDV for injuries resulting in a 15 to 25% disability
- Up to an $8000 SJDV for injuries resulting in a 26% to 49% disability
- Up to a $10,000 SJDV for injuries resulting in a disability of more than 50%
Seek Experienced Legal Representation
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness at work, consult with experienced attorneys who can ensure you are complying with all of the deadlines and requirements in your case. We have served Monterey Bay Region employees for over 35 years in California workers’ compensation matters, and seven of our attorneys have been certified as Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law by the California Board of Legal Specialization. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case, contact Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna today.