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Temporary Disability through Workers' Compensation

California Workers' Compensation Benefits for Injured Employees

When you are injured on the job, workers’ compensation befits are available to aid in your recovery. One such benefit is called temporary disability (TD), which provides payments in lieu of lost wages if a work injury forces you to take time off work or prevents you from doing your usual job while recovering.

If you have been hurt while working or have contracted an illness due to your job, you may qualify for temporary disability benefits. Our San Bernardino lawyers at the Law Office of Mann and Mann have three decades of experience handling workers’ comp claims in California. We can help you get the temporary disability and medical benefits you deserve if you have been in a work accident.

You can contact us 24 hours a day at (909) 639-3339 or online to discuss your workers’ compensation case with an experienced attorney.

How Do I Qualify for Temporary Disability?

Temporary disability was created to help people with short-term incapacitations make up for their lost income while they are out of work. Anyone who files a valid workers’ compensation claim qualifies for TD if their treating doctor says they can’t go back to work right away because of their injury or illness. Disability payments will then come from your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company on a bi-weekly basis.

How Soon Can I Receive Temporary Disability Benefits?

TD payments will begin shortly after your treating doctor determines that you cannot perform your usual job duties or a modified version of your usual work for more than three days. You should receive your first payment within 14 days of your doctor filing the medical report that states you need to take time off work.

If your disability puts you out of work for more than two weeks, you will receive retroactive benefits starting from the date you were injured. TD benefits are limited to no more than 104 weeks in California; however, certain conditions and illnesses such as severe burns and chronic lung disease are eligible for up to 240 weeks of payments.

Temporary disability payments generally stop either once you return to work or when your doctor determines you have reached the point of your maximum medical improvement (MMI) and are ready to resume your job duties.

In the event that your condition has stabilized but you are not able to recover fully from the injury (or to the extent that you are able to return to the job you were doing before), you will become eligible for permanent disability benefits.

How Much Are Temporary Total Disability Payments?

Temporary disability benefits pay two-thirds of your gross wages up to the maximum weekly amount set by California law. The maximum weekly amount varies year by year; in 2018, for example, the cap was $1,215.27. TD workers’ comp benefits are not considered taxable income.

Due to workers’ varying incomes, everyone’s total TD payment amount will be different. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you calculate the exact amount you are entitled to based on your unique circumstances.

In California, TD benefits are based on your average weekly wage (AWW) which is determined based on the following:

  • Employees who work over 30 hours and five days a week: Your TD benefits will equal your AWW (but cannot exceed the maximum amount determined by the State).
  • Employees who earn different income amounts each week or are paid by commission: Your benefits will be calculated based on your average weekly earnings over one year.
  • None of the above: You will have to determine another method of payment with the insurance company paying your benefits.

What If I Disagree with My Doctor’s Opinion That I Cannot Work?

If at any point you, your employer, or the insurance company’s claims administrator disagrees with your treating physician’s reports regarding your injury or treatment, you might be asked to undergo an evaluation with a qualified medical evaluator (QME). The QME is meant to be an unbiased third party who can provide an accurate report of the patient’s condition.

This process was established to ensure that:

  • An employer does not unjustly refuse to pay their employee’s claim just to save face or money and
  • An employee does not attempt to take advantage of the workers’ comp system by exaggerating or falsifying a work-related injury or illness

If you have more questions about temporary disability benefits or would like assistance with your workers’ compensation claim, a lawyer can help. Having an attorney on your side will make the claims process run more smoothly and ensure you receive the maximum amount of benefits you deserve.

Call (909) 639-3339 to learn more.

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