After a work-related injury, you may be worried about a wide variety of things that will significantly affect your life going forward. Initially, you may be concerned about where you will find the money to pay for the medical expenses arising from your injury. Plus, you may not be able to return to work for a long time (or at all); how will you provide for your family during that time?
Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits exist to support you during this difficult time in your life. These benefits will allow you to cover your medical expenses and lost wages resulting from your injury. However, you may wonder how long you will receive these benefits, especially if the injury you suffered will have long-term or even permanent effects. Here’s everything you need to know about long-term injuries and workers’ compensation.
If you have suffered a work injury and want to increase your chances of receiving the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, working with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney may be an excellent idea. There are multiple workers’ comp lawyers in Los Angeles willing to help you with everything you need, such as C&B Law Group. This workers’ compensation law firm offers completely free consultations, so don’t hesitate to contact them if you have questions about the process.
Common Long-Term Injuries
There are a wide variety of occupational injuries that may have long-term consequences. Some of the most common are the following:
· Spinal cord injuries: A neck or back injury could expose and damage the nerves of the spinal cord, which can have severe consequences. If you suffer such an injury, you may lose mobility in some or all of your limbs.
· Hearing or vision loss: If as a result of a work activity you lose your vision or hearing, your life may never be the same due to the injury.
· Cancer: In certain occupational fields, workers are exposed to carcinogens such as asbestos. Getting this disease will probably haunt you for the rest of your life.
· Amputations: Few things spell “long-term consequences” more than an amputation. Losing one of your limbs will change your life, and may limit your ability to live on your own.
Multiple injuries can disrupt the rest of your life, so you should know how workers’ compensation benefits can help you, and whether you qualify for temporary or permanent disability benefits.
Benefit Period for Workers’ Comp in California
So, the question is: Can workers’ compensation benefits help you with long-term injuries? The short answer is yes, but it’s not that simple. The reality is that workers’ compensation benefits don’t last forever. In California, workers can only collect workers’ compensation benefits for 104 weeks over 5 years in most cases. However, for more severe injuries, such as severe burns, lung disease, and other conditions, that period can be extended up to 240 weeks.
In many instances, these benefits may be sufficient for the worker to pay medical expenses and cover lost wages while recovering. But for more serious injuries, the worker will need benefits permanently. In those cases, the worker will have to apply for disability benefits.
Eligibility for Permanent Disability Benefits
Your eligibility for permanent disability benefits will be determined by your treating physician. At some point during your treatment, your doctor will determine that you have improved as much as possible. This is known as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
Your doctor will then assess a permanent disability rating in the form of a percentage, which will determine your ability to work after the injury. The types of permanent disability are as follows:
Permanent total disability: If your injury prevents you from working in any significant way, your treating doctor will note that you qualify for permanent total disability. For example, if as a result of a spinal cord injury you end up unable to move your limbs, you will qualify for this type of disability.
Permanent partial disability: If your disability rating is less than 100%, then you will qualify for permanent partial disability. In these cases, you will receive weekly payments depending on how high your disability rating is.
Can I Receive Both Benefits?
Although you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits and disability benefits at the same time, you will not be able to receive payments from both sources at the same time except for certain limited situations. If you are unsure of the proper course of action for your case, you should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney near you.
If you are the surviving dependent of a worker who died while engaged in work-related activity, you may be able to receive death benefits. These benefits will depend on the number of survivors who qualify to receive payments.
What to do to obtain the benefits you deserve
If you are unsure of what to do to get the workers’ compensation or disability benefits you need to regain control of your life, you should consult with a workers’ comp attorney near you who has the know-how to help you. The best workers’ compensation lawyers in Los Angeles offer completely free consultations. Contact them to find the perfect attorney for your case.