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Many people who file for workers’ compensation claims immediately or ultimately need permanent disability benefits as a result of their injury or illness. You may even be entitled to benefits for permanent disability even if your workers’ compensation claim is denied. Here is some information to clarify how permanent disability works within and outside of workers’ compensation policies.
Types of Permanent Disability
You do not have to be paralyzed or suffer from another form of catastrophic injury or illness to qualify for permanent disability. There are two types of permanent disability: partial and total. Under permanent partial disability, you may suffer from a life-altering condition that does not completely exclude you from the workforce. These injuries may include mental disorders, hearing loss, chronic pain syndromes, certain amputations, and more. Anything that will prevent you from working normally into the future can be considered grounds for permanent disability benefits.
Depending on the nature of your injury or illness, you may be compensated for part or all of your lost wages through a permanent disability policy. If you suffer from a condition that remains even after you have reached maximum medical improvement, you are eligible for some form of permanent disability compensation through workers’ compensation.
Permanent Disability Through Workers’ compensation
Any illness or injury directly or proximally work-related may be covered by permanent disability coverage through your workers’ compensation policy. The amount you receive is based on the nature of your condition, the total reduction of your earning capacity, and other factors. You may not be entitled to receive full compensation for lost income through permanent disability.
A physician will determine whether or not an injury or illness has led to permanent disability. He or she will then be able to notify your claims administrator about your disability status. Anything not caused by a work-related experience will not be eligible for coverage. You will start receiving your benefits after temporary disability benefits end and once the claims department approves your status.
Workers’ compensation permanent disability benefits are determined based on American Medical Association guidelines. If you have a dispute with the benefits you receive for permanent disability, you can ask the California Division of Workers’ Compensation to review your case. If you have an attorney working with you, you will need to present your case to a judge for reconsideration.
Permanent Disability Without Workers’ Compensation
Infirmities that are not work related may still be eligible for permanent disability through Social Security. For instance, if you are diagnosed with cancer, heart failure, or another illness, you may not be eligible for coverage through workers’ compensation. Over time, these conditions can create a permanent disability, making it impossible for an employee to continue working at the same level as before.
Social Security disability benefits are paid through a federal program. You will still need notice from a doctor to prove a claim, but these disability claims are not handled through your employer.
When to Contact an Attorney
The laws surrounding workers’ compensation and permanent disability are complex. Insurance companies may reject your claim or your employer may fail to cooperate fully to see that you receive the compensation you deserve. If you are concerned about your illness impairing your ability to work in the future, consider consulting a workers’ compensation attorney.
In addition to helping you navigate your claim, workers’ compensation attorneys at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo can also help keep your claim moving forward in a timely fashion and speak to insurance companies and your employer on your behalf. You don’t have to go through the difficulties of securing permanent disability alone. Contact us today for more information.