Understanding Workers’ Compensation Time Limits And Deadlines In California
After a workplace injury, it is difficult to know how long you’ll be unable to work and what kinds of benefits you’ll need. Many workers are surprised to find themselves out of work much longer than they expected to be. For this reason, it’s important to understand how long benefits last and what your options are if your temporary benefits expire.
On this page, you will find a general overview of time limits. For case-specific advice and guidance, however, we urge you to contact our attorney at Katzakian Law P.C. to take advantage of a free initial consultation.
How Long Will Temporary Disability Benefits Continue?
As implied by their name, temporary disability (TD) benefits are time limited. If you are unable to work due to an on-the-job injury, your TD benefits will continue until you return to work or for up to 104 weeks (two years), whichever occurs sooner.
There are certain highly serious injuries and illnesses that qualify for TD benefits of up to 240 weeks (approximately four years and eight months). Included in these are chronic lung disease and severe burns.
What Options Do Workers Have After 104 Weeks?
What happens when a worker still cannot return to work after two years? Unfortunately, this is a problem impacting many Californians who were seriously injured on the job. If you consult a physician who determines that your disability is permanent, you may be able to transition to permanent disability benefits. These can last years or for the rest of your life, depending on a number of factors.
If you could potentially return to doing some work but not the same work you did prior to your injury, you may be able to qualify for supplemental job displacement benefits. This is a voucher for $6,000 to help cover the costs of transitioning into a new job or career.
Be Sure To Note The Statute Of Limitations For Filing A Claim
Some workers miss out on benefits entirely because they wait too long to seek workers’ compensation. For most California workers in most situations, the statute of limitation (SOL) on workers’ comp claims is one year from the date of injury. Federal workers have up to three years.
It’s easy to calculate the SOL when your injuries are related to a single accident. It is more difficult for cumulative trauma (repetitive stress) injuries. In such cases, the “clock” may start when you first missed work because of the injury or were informed by your doctor that your injury was related to your job.
There is another important deadline to heed as well. Your injury needs to be reported to your employer (in writing) within 30 days of when it occurred. If you fail to meet this deadline, you could also jeopardize your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. As a general rule, injured workers should report their injuries and file a claim as soon as reasonably possible.
Have Questions About Your Claim? Contact Us For Answers.
Katzakian Law P.C. serves clients from seven convenient office hubs in the Bay Area and California’s Central Coast. To take advantage of a free initial consultation with our experienced and knowledgeable attorney, reach out online or call us at 888-724-4138.