The workers compensation system affords protection to injured workers by providing reimbursement for lost wages. When an employee is harmed in a workplace accident, there are four types of workers’ compensation benefits they could possibly claim: medical coverage, wage benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits. Often employees do not realize that in addition to paying for their medical care after a work-related injury, workers compensation insurance will also provide wage replacement benefits in some cases. In the state of California, the DWC (Division of Workers Compensation) is responsible for monitoring the administration of worker compensation claims and assists in resolving disputes concerning claims for workers compensation benefits. If you suspect you deserve workers compensation benefits, consider setting up an appointment with a California workers’ compensation attorney at Diefer Law Group at (888) 301-7795 to understand all of your legal options under the law.
What Are Wage Loss Benefits?
When an employee is injured on the job or suffers an illness related to their employment, wage loss benefits may provide them with an income while they cannot be at work. The amount paid is approximately two-thirds of the employee’s total salary. However, the benefit is not taxable, therefore, the amount is often very close to the original taxed salary amount.
Does Workers Comp Cover Lost Wages in California?
The definitive answer to this is a resounding: yes. Lost wage replacement remains one of the most valuable benefits after an injury at the workplace. Two types of wage loss benefits exist under workers comp: temporary disability and permanent disability.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability benefits are payable to employees who were injured and cannot work their regular jobs while recovering. Temporary disability benefits begin when a doctor confirms that the employee cannot perform their usual job duties for more than three days or if the employee is hospitalized overnight. Temporary disability benefits are further classified into temporary total disability and temporary partial disability
Temporary Total Disability
Temporary total disability is granted to employees who cannot work due to injuries. Benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage. However, there is a legal limit on the maximum weekly amount awarded.
Temporary Partial Disability
Temporary partial disability is given to employees who can work but not to the degree required by their contracted work schedule. Temporary partial disability recipients will receive two-thirds of their weekly wage loss. This is calculated by subtracting the amount earned for part-time work from the employee’s average weekly wage.
Once the employee’s doctor confirms that the employee can return to work or that the injury has improved as much as it is going to, temporary disability benefits cease. Wage loss benefits are paid for a maximum of 104 weeks. They can be spread out over five years if the employee does not need the help for an uninterrupted period. There are some exceptions for which the 104 weeks can be extended up to 240 weeks for serious long-term injuries such as a severe burn or chronic lung disease.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Some workers may not recover from their injuries and are thus not able to return to their previous jobs and may sustain lasting impairments. These employees are entitled to permanent disability benefits due to their reduced earning capacity once their conditions aren’t expected to improve. Permanent disabilities need to be certified by a doctor who will also assign the employee a disability rating. The rating determines the amount of workers comp benefits to be awarded. Permanent disability is further subdivided into total or partial.
Permanent Total Disability
Although rare in workers compensation cases, sometimes an employee can never work again and may qualify for permanent total disability. Employees will continue to receive payments for the rest of their lives at the same amount they would have collected under their temporary disability benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability
Employees who can return to work in some capacity but are prevented from performing the same work and thus earning the same money due to their impairment may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. The disability rating, as certified by the doctor, will determine the amount of the payments and how long they are provided to the employee.
Should you require legal assistance with wage loss benefits, consider contacting an experienced Riverside Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Diefer Law Group to learn more about your legal rights and entitlements.
The Three-Day Waiting Period in the State of California
In California, under Labor Code 4652, employees are generally required to miss three days of work before receiving temporary disability benefits unless the temporary disability continues for more than 14 days or the employee is hospitalized as an inpatient for treatment required by the injury. In both these cases, temporary disability indemnity becomes payable from the date of the disability. The waiting period is commonly known as the first three days of lost time, lost wages, or wage loss.
Contact an Experienced California Workers’ Compensation Attorney in California Today
Workers compensation benefits can be complex. If you think you may have a California Workers’ Compensation case, consider contacting our experienced California lawyers from the Diefer Law Group. Our experienced legal team fights aggressively on behalf of its clients to ensure that their legal and financial rights are protected. We treat our clients the way they would expect to be treated. Contact our office to set up your appointment, and get your California workers comp questions answered today: (888) 301-7795.