Experienced Attorneys Help You Secure the Four Main Benefits of Workers’ Compensation

Knowledgeable attorneys manage appeals of wrongly denied claims

At Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna, our goal is to help clients throughout the Monterey Peninsula obtain the maximum workers’ compensation benefits they are entitled to. We have been doing this kind of work for more than 35 years, and seven of our attorneys have earned certification as specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law by the California Board of Legal Specialization. If you’re looking for knowledgeable and highly skilled lawyers to help you assert your rights, ours is the law firm to trust.

Your right to medical care for a job-related injury or illness

Under California’s workers’ compensation law, you have the right to receive all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for your work-related injury or illness, 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. If you are not satisfied with the medical doctor, chiropractor, or acupuncturist your employer chooses, the California Labor Code allows you to request a new practitioner during the 30 days after your injury. Your employer must provide a referral within five days of your request. Otherwise, you may select your own.

Once 30 days have passed since you notified your employer of the injury, you have the option of finding a new doctor. If your employer has established a medical provider network (MPN), you can select a physician from the MPN list. If your employer has no MPN, you are free to select your own doctor as long as the office is “within a reasonable geographic area.”

Conflicts often arise when insurers claim certain treatment is not reasonable or medically necessary, or when doctors clear workers to return to the job before workers feel it’s appropriate. In such cases, an attorney at our firm can intervene to protect your rights.

Your right to temporary disability payments when you cannot work

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:

  • 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.
  • 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 the time limit passes and you are still unable to return to work, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits.

Your right to permanent disability benefits in California

If you do not recover fully from your injury, there are two types of permanent disability for which you might qualify: partial or total.

A partial disability means you have lost some level of bodily function, but you are still able to work. You may not be able to return to your old job, but you can do some type of work. Under these circumstances, you are entitled to permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits based on the severity of your partial disability and its impact on your work. You are given a disability rating that determines how much cash your injury is worth.

Problems often arise when a disability rating is too low for the worker’s condition. Our attorneys intervene to get workers second opinions on their disability ratings.

If your injury prevents you from working even after you’ve reach a point of maximum expected improvement, you may be eligible for total permanent disability (TPD) payments. Examples of total disability include the loss of sight in both eyes or the loss of the use of both arms. TPD cases often involve large settlements, so it’s important to have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney negotiating for you to help you obtain a maximum return.

Your right to job retraining after a work-related injury

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 percent disability
  • Up to a $6000 SJDV for injuries resulting in a 15 to 25 percent disability
  • Up to an $8000 SJDV for injuries resulting in a 26 to 49 percent disability
  • Up to a $10,000 SJDV for injuries resulting in a disability of more than 50 percent

Here again, the disability rating is the key to maximizing your benefits. Our experienced workers’ comp attorneys will work to ensure that you receive the benefits your condition warrants.

Contact our seasoned workers’ comp lawyers serving Salinas, Watsonville, Santa Cruz, and Monterey, CA

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness at work and you’re having difficulty accessing your workers’ compensation benefits, Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna can help. Our firm has served workers throughout the Monterey Bay Region for more than 35 years, and seven of our attorneys are board-certified specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case, call us at 831-443-1051 or contact us online today. For the convenience of our clients, we offer same-day appointments and services in Spanish.