If your work related injury or illness leaves you with a long lasting medical issue, you might be eligible to obtain permanent disability benefits through workers’ comp. Before you can get these benefits, you will need to have medical proof of your injury or illness to show that your condition isn’t likely to change. You will also need to demonstrate that your injury or illness is keeping you from returning to work.
Am I Eligible for Permanent Disability Benefits?
To get your workers’ comp benefits, you will need to show that you fit the following eligibility requirements:
- Your employer has a workers’ compensation insurance policy
- You have to be an eligible employee under your employer’s insurance policy
- Your injury is work-related and is covered under workers’ comp
- You filed your workers’ comp claim in accordance with the procedures and deadlines in your state.
You also must adhere to your state’s guidelines regarding medical examination by a doctor who treats workers’ comp patients.
To get permanent disability benefits, your doctor will need to state that you have reached a stand-still in your recovery. This means your medical condition isn’t likely to improve in the future with more treatment. This is referred to as “maximal medical improvement” (MMI).
The time it takes to reach MMI can vary, depending on the nature of your injury. Other factors like available medical treatments or approval from insurance companies for treatments can also affect the amount of time it takes for you to reach maximal medical improvement.
Determining If You Are Permanently Disabled
Once your doctor determines you have reached MMI, they will evaluate you to see if you have a permanent disability. Your employer’s insurance company can also request an independent medical examination (IME) to assess your permanent impairments. If you disagree with your doctor’s initial evaluation of your injury, you can also request an IME.
You will be given a percentage based on a permanent disability rating to determine the benefits you are able to receive. You don’t have to prove that you can no longer work to be deemed permanently disabled. You might also be able to qualify under a combination of permanent impairments that equal a 100% disability rating.
When Will I Get My Permanent Disability Checks?
Once your doctor informs the insurance company about your permanent disability, the insurance company will begin to send your checks. However, if the amount you receive is not enough to cover your expenses, you should immediately speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. Workers’ comp cases can be complex and insurance companies will do all that they can to limit their costs by denying or reducing the amount of benefits you are entitled to.
If you need help getting permanent disability benefits to compensate for your injury, we can help. At the Law Offices of Andrew B. Shin, we are dedicated to helping workers in California secure the benefits that they are entitled to.
Contact our San Jose workers' comp lawyers to set up a no-cost case consultation today.