Cramer and Martinez

Free Consultation408-848-1113

7459 Monterey St., Suite A, Gilroy, CA 95020

Santa Clara County Permanent Disability Benefits Attorneys

Santa Cruz County permanent disability benefits attorneys

Workers' Compensation Lawyers for Permanently Disabled Employees in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, and Surrounding Areas

With the assistance of the workers' compensation benefits required by California law, many employees who are injured on the job are able to get the medical care they need and avoid excessive hardship due to temporary lost wages while they recover. However, if you have suffered a severe injury, you may never be able to fully recover and return to your job with the same working ability as before. In this case, it is important that you understand the necessary steps to obtain permanent disability (PD) benefits.

Because there is such a high eligibility requirement for PD benefits, it can often be difficult to ensure you receive the full amount possible. At Cramer & Martinez, LLP, we can represent your interests and needs from the time you submit your initial claim throughout the process of determining your benefits eligibility. With an approach honed through more than 20 years of combined experience, we help you handle the procedural details of your claim, as well as interactions with treating physicians and claims administrators so that you have the best chance of a successful outcome.

When are Permanent Disability Benefits Granted in California?

While medical care and temporary disability benefits can be granted fairly quickly after a work-related injury, it often takes longer to determine whether you are eligible for permanent disability benefits. As you undergo the treatment recommended by your primary treating physician and authorized by your employers' benefits administrator, your physician will closely monitor the progress of your recovery. Once your physician concludes that you are no longer improving or likely to improve any further, he or she will issue a report to the benefits administrator describing your condition. If the report notes that you are still restricted by your injuries and unable to return to work at full capacity, you will likely be granted some amount of permanent disability benefits.

How Much Do Permanent Disability Benefits Pay?

The amount of your benefit depends on a disability rating assigned by the claims administrator based on your physician's report. Your rating will be expressed as a percentage between 1 and 100 that considers the body parts that are still affected by your injuries and the degree to which their functions are limited, as well as your occupation and age at the time of your injury, among other factors. As with a temporary disability, weekly benefits are usually calculated based on two-thirds of your lost wages, but your rating determines the number of weeks for which you can receive benefits, and therefore the total amount of benefits you will receive. If your rating is 70 percent or higher, you are eligible for additional benefits in the form of a life pension, and in the rare case that your rating is 100 percent, indicating permanent total disability, you will be eligible for weekly benefits for the rest of your life.

How Do I Challenge My Permanent Disability Rating?

There are two important points in the process when you may choose to work with your attorney to challenge the decision regarding your eligibility for permanent disability benefits. The first is when your primary treating physician has written the report describing your condition after you have reached maximum improvement. You have the right to read the report and keep a copy of it for your records, and if you disagree with the doctor's assessment, you have the right to request an opinion from a Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME). This helps to ensure that the claims administrator is considering the most accurate information.

The second opportunity to challenge the decision is when the claims administrator issues a rating. Because the rating process is so complex, it is especially helpful to have an experienced attorney who can advise you regarding whether the administrator's rating accurately reflects your condition. If you believe your rating is lower than it should be, you may ask that another qualified disability rater consider your case, and present the results to the claims administrator to negotiate an adjustment.

Contact a Hollister, CA Workers' Compensation Attorney

Workers' compensation cases involving permanent disability are often the most challenging, both because of the impact on your life and the complicated process of determining your benefits. You need an attorney with experience handling the process and standing up for employee rights. Contact us today at 408-848-1113 to request a free consultation regarding your workers' comp claim in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Hollister, San Jose, Salinas, Los Banos, Watsonville, and throughout Santa Clara County, Monterey County, San Benito County, Santa Cruz County, and the surrounding areas.

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