A work injury can cause severe disruption to a person’s life. Workers’ compensation insurance exists as a form of much-needed financial protection. Injured workers in California can seek medical coverage and wage replacement benefits to aid with their physical and mental recovery. Sadly, some work-related accidents are so severe that employees are left with permanent impairments.
In California, permanent disability benefits are a form of workers’ compensation benefits designed to compensate those who will never be able to make a complete recovery from a job accident. In this blog post, our Fresno workers’ comp lawyer provides a detailed guide to the key things that injured employees should know about permanent disability benefits in California.
To get permanent disability benefits (PD benefits) through a workers’ comp claim in California, you must be deemed permanently disabled. This requires a finding of P&S status. As defined by the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), permanent and stationary (P&S) occurs when a worker’s “condition has reached maximum medical improvement.” Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is a term used to describe a situation in which a patient is unlikely to recover any further, regardless of the treatment plan. Only when an injured worker has reached MMI can they bring their permanent disability claim in California.
Once you or your loved one has reached maximum medical improvement, you are going to need something called a permanent and stationary (P&S) report. In effect, a P&S report is a report completed by a treating physician that provides a comprehensive overview of the injured worker’s condition. Among other things, a P&S report should include:
- An account of all of the worker’s specific medical impairments that remain;
- An explanation of why continued treatment is unlikely to lead to improvements;
- The medical limits on what the worker can do due to their impairments (work restrictions);
- An overview of medical care needed to ensure the worker does not deteriorate; and
- An assessment of what percentage of the disability is work-related.
Permanent disability claims are notoriously complex. As a significant amount is at stake, employers, claims administrators, and insurers tend to be aggressive in trying to protect their financial interests. They want to pay out the minimum in permanent disability benefits. Injured workers do not have to navigate the system alone. A Fresno, CA workers’ comp lawyer with experience handling permanent disability cases will help you maximize your recovery.
Joseph C. Yrulegui has the professional skills and legal experience you can count on. If you have any specific questions or concerns about permanent disability benefits, please do not hesitate to contact our work injury team for help. Consultations are strictly confidential. From our office in Fresno, we provide workers’ comp claims representation all over the San Joaquin Valley.