When you sustain a workplace injury, the pain and suffering may be just part of the turmoil you experience as a result. A serious injury could render you unable to work for quite some time, denying you and your family of income you rely on to survive. Your employer’s workers’ compensation scheme should provide for the medical expenses and a proportion of your average weekly wage but, if you are left with a permanent disability, you will eventually need to claim disability benefits instead. Despite it being evident that you will require financial assistance at this time, injured employees all too often find that their claims are rejected, delayed, or miscalculated. At a time when you are already struggling with arduous recovery and rehabilitation, not to mention the major adjustment required to accept your permanent disability, being left out of pocket unfairly is the last thing you need.
As worker’s compensation specialists, each of the firm’s Palmdale permanent disability partner attorneys at Koszdin, Fields & Sherry are very familiar with the ins and outs of claiming disability benefits, and in determining the best course of action in your individual circumstances.
What Constitutes Permanent Disability in Palmdale, California
Any workplace injury has the potential to have a long-lasting impact on your life, but some of the most severe could leave you permanently disabled and unable to return to your job. In some cases, you may be able to return to some form of work eventually, but not at the same level that you had previously reached, greatly reducing your earning capacity. As such, disability benefits are based on levels of impairment, with the payments you receive being calculated according to the percentage of disability cited by your doctors.
Known as maximal medical improvement or MMI, this benchmark must be reached in order for claimants to be considered for permanent disability benefits under workers’ compensation rules. This is the point at which the treating doctor in your case determines that you have reached the maximum amount of improvement that you will reach—further improvements are not likely, even if treatment continues.
The length of time that is necessary to reach the MMI benchmark varies greatly from person to person and depends largely on the severity of the injury, the medical treatments available to the injured party, and whether or not the insurance company takes its time approving costly procedures or surgeries, which is common practice with some companies.
Once it has been established that you have reached maximal medical improvement, then the process to determine if you are permanently disabled commences. If you have not exhausted your temporary disability benefits at this point, you will likely stop receiving them at this time. For claimants with disability ratings that are less than 100 percent, partial disability payments are likely.
This impairment rating can be allocated unfairly by insurance companies and providers, who have their eye on their own bottom line rather than the impact on your life. When you hire a Palmdale permanent disability attorney from Koszdin, Fields & Sherry to handle your case, we will not accept anything less than the full amount – and correct rating – that you should receive, enlisting experts such as agreed medical evaluators (AME) or qualified medical evaluators (QME) where necessary.
If you have been out of work due to a workplace injury, we would urge you to discuss your case with one of our outstanding attorneys, to make sure you receive the benefits you deserve.
Most Common Disabling Workplace Injuries
While folks naturally consider the construction and manufacturing sectors as the most dangerous and the most apt to leave workers permanently disabled, accidents that lead to disabilities can occur in any job. High-risk industries aside, the 2021 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index chronicles the top disabling injuries among workers for the previous year. The injuries sustained in these accidents left the worker either permanently disabled or in need of missing a substantial amount of work.
In order of prevalence, they include:
- Handling heavy objects, including heavy boxes or materials.
- Falling from the same level, such as slipping on a wet floor.
- Falling to a lower level, including falls from ladders.
- Being hit with an object, usually one that is falling from above.
- Awkward postures that cause twisting and abnormal body positions, which often occur when stepping down from a vehicle.
- Motor vehicle accidents, which often result from distracted driving.
- Slipping and tripping but not falling, usually on a slippery or uneven path.
- Collisions with objects, equipment, or machinery (includes workspace objects).
- Becoming entangled in moving or rotating parts of machinery or equipment.
- Repetitive motions of the hand and shoulder, usually during assembly.
California Workplace Injury Statistics
According to figures published by the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, a 2014 survey into occupational injuries and illness in the state revealed:
- 460,700 reportable non-fatal workplace injuries
- A clear majority of workplace injury occurs within the service industry, with fewest happening within computer, engineering and science roles
- The most common cause of workplace injury is over-exertion, followed by contact with an object or equipment, and a slip or trip and fall
- The most common type of workplace injury is sprains, strains and tears, followed by soreness and pain
Take Action Today
Our Palmdale permanent disability attorney understands how divesting it can be to sustain an injury at work or develop a work-related illness. There is little doubt that you are frustrated and worried about your future and the future of your family, since you are left unable to work. But you are not alone. Our knowledgeable team of legal professionals wants to help you win your case, even if you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits in the past. Let us help you get the maximum benefits to which you are entitled under the law. Trust the team at Koszdin, Fields & Sherry to guide you through the complicated and confusing workers’ compensation claims process.