Workplace injuries always come unexpected and bring with them unanticipated medical expenses and lost wages. California workers in all industries might find comfort in knowing that the state-regulated workers' compensation insurance program will provide financial assistance. All the medical expenses of an injured worker will be paid within three to seven days, and if the worker can return to work within that time, the workers' compensation benefits will cover medical expenses only.
If a worker's injury prevents the return to work, disability benefits come into play. Temporary total disability benefits are paid to workers who are unable to return to work at all until they have recovered. However, if a worker can return to work to do other tasks at lower wages until he or she recovers from the injury, temporary partial disability benefits will be paid to cover a portion of the lost income. Benefits will continue until the worker recovers enough to return to his or her regular job.
Sometimes, injured workers reach maximum medical improvement that still leaves them with severe impairments. That is when permanent disability benefits are paid. These could be classified as permanent total disability for those who will never be able to work again. However, workers whose disabilities, although permanent, do not prevent them from doing different jobs will receive permanent partial disability benefits. They might even be awarded additional benefits to cover occupational rehabilitation that could provide them with new skills and enable them to continue earning incomes in different occupations.
In the event of a fatal workplace injury, the surviving family members of the deceased worker can claim death benefits to pay for a funeral and burial along with a wage-replacement package. Injured workers in California who have questions about the benefits to which they are entitled can get answers from an experienced workers compensation attorney. Legal counsel can explain the workers' rights and assist with the administrative and legal steps of the claims process. If a claim is denied, a lawyer can provide support and guidance throughout the appeals process in pursuit of the workers' compensation benefits to which a client is entitled.