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Understanding a Disability Evaluation Unit in workers' comp

In many instances, when California workers are injured on the job and are seeking workers' compensation benefits, it is not as simple as applying for the benefits and then receiving the benefits. This is especially true if it might be a permanent disability. Certain factors that a worker might not be aware of will come into play. When dealing with an injury or illness from employment and being unable to work, these issues must be considered. One is the Disability Evaluation Unit.

DEU evaluates the medical descriptions of workers' impairments, both mental and physical. From that, it comes to a determination regarding permanent disability ratings. These ratings will be used by those who are involved in the benefits a permanently disabled worker receives. Included are the administrative law judges, the worker and the claims administrator.

With DEU, there are three types of ratings: formal, consultative and summary. For a formal rating, it is done when the workers' compensation judge asks for it. With consultative, it will be done if it is a litigated case and there has been a request from an attorney or a Division of Workers' Compensation insurance or assistance officer. With summary, it is done on non-litigated cases when it is requested by the worker or the claims administrator.

When there are Disability Rating Determinations, it describes the worker's percentage of disability. To come to the percentage, the physician report and the type of work the worker was doing will be used. If it is shown in the rating that there is some permanent disability, the workers should get permanent disability payments minus permanent disability payments made before the rating.

DEU can be an important part of workers' compensation claims. Workers who have permanent disability will need to have their benefits to cover for their medical costs and lost wages among other expenses. A legal professional who is experienced in workers' compensation claims can be of assistance.

Source: dir.ca.gov, "Disability Evaluation Unit," accessed on April 2, 2018

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