Workers’ Compensation – Other Benefits
At Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna, our goal is to help clients throughout the Monterey Peninsula obtain the maximum workers’ compensation benefits possible. In most circumstances, you are entitled to four principal benefits in addition to various other benefits, depending on your situation.
The other benefits available in many workers’ compensation cases include the following:
Mileage and Medication
Your employer is required to provide all treatment that is reasonable and necessary to cure or relieve you from the effects of your industrial injury or illness. Such treatment includes "medical, surgical, chiropractic, acupuncture and hospital treatment, including nursing, medicines, medical & surgical supplies, crutches and apparatus, including orthotic and prosthetic devices and services … and mileage." Most workers’ compensation insurance companies will compare your mileage reimbursement requests to the doctor’s billing records as well as an Internet map service to check for accuracy. Keep an accurate record of every mile driven to your doctor’s office, hospital, physical therapist, etc., and keep a copy of your reimbursement request when you submit it to the insurance company.
Light-Duty While Recovering from Your Injury or Illness
If your employer offers you "light-duty" that meets all of your doctor’s limitations, it is important that you attempt to perform the light-duty job because your refusal to do so could lead to disciplinary action, and the insurance company would no longer have to pay you temporary disability benefits. Keep a copy of your doctor’s work limitations with you at all times and refuse to perform work that exceeds them.
Looking for Other Jobs
Employers are prohibited from asking (verbally or on an employment application) questions about your health or medical history in job applications or interviews. In addition, employers may not inquire whether the applicant has ever filed a workers’ compensation claim. However, they can ask about your ability to perform specific tasks related to the job.
Types of Settlements
Two types of settlements are available in a California workers’ compensation case. These are a Compromise & Release (C&R) and a Stipulation with Request for Award (Stips):
With a C&R, the workers’ compensation insurance company pays a lump sum of money to close out a case in its entirety. This includes any compensation for medical treatment. The benefit of this type of settlement is that the insurance company pays extra money to buy-out any rights the injured worker has to future medical treatment. The money is paid in one lump sum within 30 days of the judge’s approval.
With Stips, in most cases, the option for future medical treatment remains. This means that the resulting monetary settlement is less, and the workers’ compensation insurance company pays the money every two weeks, usually at a rate of between $170 and $230.
Seek Experienced Legal Representation
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness at work, it is important to 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 are have been certified as Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. To schedule a free initial consultation with us to discuss your case, contact Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna.