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Lost Wages

Are You Eligible for Lost Wages Benefits After a Work-Related Injury?

When a worker is injured at work or while performing duties required by their job, they are covered by workers’ compensation. In a perfect world this would be a simple system that injured parties could easily navigate. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world.

At DLC Law we have two Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialists by the State Bar of California, and one of the most common questions they are asked is whether an injured California worker qualifies for lost wages benefits. Keep reading to discover the potentially complex answer or contact us at (626) 285-8815 to get advice on your specific case.

Workers’ compensation claims do not require you to prove fault

Workers in California can use the workers’ compensation system to get the money they need without having to establish that someone else is at fault. That said, even if your workers’ compensation claim is successful, you will not be compensated for all of your missed income. In California, an employee is often only reimbursed up to two-thirds of his or her average weekly pay.

Submitting a request for lost wage reimbursement

As an injured worker in California, you may be entitled to lost wage recovery. Workers’ compensation insurance is required for all companies in the state. If you are injured on the job, whether the accident was caused by someone else or not, you may be able to recover lost wages by submitting a workers’ compensation claim. An insurance provider may compensate you for missed wages in a variety of ways.

  • Temporary disability payments: If you are temporarily unable to work due to an injury or sickness, you may be eligible to receive payments for the time you are unable to work, up to two years.
  • Permanent disability payments: If you are permanently disabled from your employment, you may be able to receive salary benefits for a period of time ranging from a few weeks to several Workers who are severely handicapped may be eligible for extra life pension benefits.
  • Supplemental job displacement benefit voucher: If you are permanently disabled as a result of a work injury and your employer is unable to provide you with alternative employment, you may be eligible for a voucher to pay for education, job training, or skill improvement.
  • Return-to-work supplement: Job displacement voucher recipients may be eligible for a $5,000 one-time payment under the return-to-work supplement program.

Notify your employer of your accident and injuries within 30 days to apply for these benefits. This is a time-sensitive deadline. If any of these steps are skipped, the insurer may have reasons to refuse your claim. Within five days, your employer should file the Initial Report of Injury Form. Over the next two weeks, you should hear from the insurance company about whether or not it accepts your claim.

There are compensation limits for lost wages

The California workers’ compensation system does not compensate an injured worker for all lost wages. Instead, it will be around two-thirds of the employee’s typical gross pay. For example, if you make $1,000 per week on average, your workers’ compensation lost wage check might be about $666.67. However, your benefits are subject to the statewide weekly maximum. This varies from year to year. In 2020, the highest weekly wage was $1,299.43.

Workers’ compensation might not be the only way to recover lost wages

Although workers’ compensation is one option that may be taken, it is not the only option.  It may be difficult to maintain your former level of living due to limitations on lost wage compensation. Instead, you may file a personal injury claim and receive more money, seeking 100 percent of your lost income.

Bringing a negligence-based work injury action against your employer or another party, such as a product manufacturer, might result in a full pay recovery. If your injury was caused by a different company other than your employer then you have a potential Third Party Claim.  Do not accept a settlement before contacting an attorney.  This is especially if your injury was caused by your employer. Accepting a settlement might preclude you from obtaining full recovery. If a third party is at fault, you may be eligible for both workers’ compensation lost salary reimbursement and civil remedies.

You may be eligible for payments from Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income if you have a temporary or permanent disability. This might be used to complement the benefits you receive through a workers’ compensation claim, allowing you to be reimbursed for 100% of your lost income.

As you can see, there are many options that might be available to you. The best option is to contact DLC Law at (626) 285-8815 now to request a free consultation. We can get the facts about your case and provide guidance on what option(s) would be best for your case.

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