If you feel that you need to call our office,
please refer to this
memorandum first. It is
written to explain the nature of the proceedings and your rights under
California Workers' Compensation Law.
Please keep it for reference, especially if you have a question
as to what to do.
When you were injured on the job you became
eligible for several types of benefits under Workers' Compensation Law
Temporary Disability (TD)
Temporary disability is paid at a
weekly rate during the time the doctor says you are unable to work due
to the injury. Your compensation rate is two-thirds (66%) of your gross
earnings, up to the maximum amounts set by law.
The current maximum rate is $900.00 per week and changes periodically upwards. This money is treated as non-taxible income.
Depending on the date of your injury, there is a short waiting
period for your first check. It
usually takes about 2 weeks before the first payment is made.
If for some reason the insurance company will not
pay temporary disability, it is often possible to receive disability
payments from the Employment Development Department.
These are called SDI (State Disability Insurance) benefits.
You should advise the person assisting you at the Employment
Development Department that you have applied for workers' compensation
benefits and your request has been denied.
You cannot, however, receive benefits from both the workers'
compensation carrier and from the Employment Development Department.
Permanent Disability (PD)
You may be entitled to receive a permanent
disability rating if your injury leaves you with any residual
disability. This is not payable until your condition becomes permanent
and stationary, which means the doctor has stated your condition has
leveled off and will stay substantially the same in the future. It does not necessarily mean that you have totally recovered
from your injury. We will
contact you as soon as we receive any report from a doctor which
indicates that your condition is permanent and stationary.
Until that time, your case will not be ready for settlement and
we are unable to give you any evaluation as to the value of your claim.
As soon as your treating doctor indicates that your
condition may be permanent and stationary or that you can return to
work, we may make arrangements for you to be examined by a medical
specialist who deals with the type of injuries you sustained.
The purpose of that consultation will be to evaluate your medical
and physical condition. The
insurance carrier may also have you evaluated by a physician of their
choice. It is very
important to your case that you promptly attend all medical consultation
as scheduled. You will be
given plenty of advance notice, by mail, of any scheduled appointment.
After the consulting physician examines you, he or
she will send us a detailed narrative report setting forth his or her
opinion as to the nature and extend of your disability, your need for
further medical care and your ability to return to work.
It usually takes the doctor about 4 to 6 weeks to prepare and
mail out the report.
case cannot be settled until all of the medical reports are prepared and
mailed to everyone. As soon
as we receive the report, it is reviewed and evaluated. The report will also be "rated" and a percentage of
disability will be assigned to the doctors opinions in accordance with
the rating guidelines of the State of California.
These rating guidelines are pre-set and uniform throughout the
The "rating" percentage is then converted
to a monetary amount also in accordance with a pre-set schedule.
At this point, we can give you our opinion as to the value of
your claim. The value of your case is based upon this rating and not upon
pain and suffering or loss of earnings or upon the extent of your
As you can see, the medical consultation may be the
most important part of your case. It
is therefore very important that you attend all of your medical
appointments as scheduled and that you cooperate fully with the
Locational rehabilitation has been eliminated through current legislation
in the state of California. In It's place , a qualifie injured worker (Q.I.W.) is given an
educational voucher which may be redeemend for books and tuition in any state approved program.
The value of this voucher ranges between a minumum of 4,000 dollars to 10,000 dollars depending
on the injured workers level of disability.
How the System Works
1. Courts and Lawsuits
The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board is the trial court for
all industrial injuries involving your employer.
This is an administrative law proceeding. There are no juries. A
workers' compensation judge makes all of the decisions if your case goes
to trial. If you are
injured as a result of the fault of someone who is not employed by your
employer, you may be able to sue that person in Civil Court, in addition
to your action against your employer. If this is the case, call it to our attention so that all
your rights under California law will be protected.
If there were defective equipment or tools involved or unsafe
working conditions, be certain to call these to our attention.
In most new cases, we immediately file a formal
claim with the insurance carrier or administrator.
The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board cannot take any action on
your claim until such time as this office requests a hearing to
determine any issues which cannot be resolved with the insurance
carrier. After we open your
file, we obtain your medical reports, conduct an informal investigation,
monitor your file in order to determine when your condition becomes
permanent and stationary and generally begin preparing to present your
case to the Appeals Board. We
will promptly request a hearing if your case cannot be settled.
Remember, no case will be
settled unless we have your full authority to do so ahead of time.
You will be advised of all settlement negotiations, along with
our evaluation of the claim, so that you will be able to make an
intelligent decision regarding the disposition of your case.
2. Attorney - Lawyer's Fees
Our Attorney - Lawyers' fees are
limited by guidelines of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board and are
usually 12% to 15% of your award or settlement.
We are also entitled to a similar fee for assisting you in your
rehabilitation program. When
there is no recovery on a case, there is no Attorney - Lawyers' fee.
3. Additional Benefits
Under workers' compensation law in California, you
are entitled to some of the following:
costs are allowed for:
(1) Examination and
treatment by doctors;
(2) Physical therapy;
(3) Special trips to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription;
(4) Trips made to an Attorney - Lawyer's office for a deposition only.
transportation is not usually available, most people drive their cars
and mileage is allowed. This
is paid at 58.5 cents per mile. Please be accurate on your mileage figures as the
insurance company will use various computer programs to verify the mileage. Keep
a list of your round-trip mileage for all of the above and include the
date and place and round-trip mileage of your visits. We have enclosed a form that you can use.
When completed, send the forms to us for submission to the
You are entitled to one day's compensation for each full day of
work lost to report to a doctor to a deposition.
Keep a careful record showing the date and doctor's name.
Incidental medical costs you may have paid, such as
prescriptions, bandages, etc., can be reimbursed to you. However, we
must have receipts for proof so be sure to save them.
4. Insurance Company Investigations
sometimes hire private investigators to take movies of injured people
doing more than they say they can do.
Sometimes, they will try to trick you into doing things you
should not do. They use
long-distance cameras and you may not see them filming you so be aware
of this and especially the following:
Some investigators will take air out of your tires or put loose
change on the ground so they can film you bending over, lifting the
tire, etc. Don't fall for
Be careful doing yard work around your house as they may be
c. When you go to the doctor or any prescheduled appointment,
they will often follow you there
and back, taking pictures. Do
not do anything you cannot usually do upon such days.
5. Things To Always Be Certain To Do
A. REFER ALL INSURANCE COMPANY REPRESENTATIVES TO YOUR LAWYER.
DO NOT GIVE WRITTEN OR RECORDED STATEMENTS.
Do not contact the insurance company yourself -- let us do it.
Notify us of any change in your address or phone.
Keep all medical appointments arranged by the insurance company
E. Let us know when you return to work or lose work if you have
been working. Keep a record
yourself of days lost from work so you can testify from your notes if
F. Let us know if you feel you are not getting proper medical
treatment or if you are not getting treatment and feel you need it.
G. If you have been released from medical treatment and your
condition worsens, always call the insurance company's last authorized
doctor for an appointment. If
you are refused an appointment, call us.
You may have to testify to this later.
H. If the doctor releases you to return to work it is always
best to try and work. You
do not have to work for the same employer.
The important thing is to try working as you may have to testify
that you did try. If you
find, after a trial period of work, that you cannot do it, then call us.
I. Keep a record of your compensation checks, writing the amount
of each check, the date received and especially the periods the check is
J. Whenever you talk to anybody, such as the insurance company,
an Attorney - Lawyer, the Employment Development Department, a doctor, etc.,
always get the name of the person you talked to in case we have to
contact them. To make this
easy, you can always ask for a business card.
K. If your case is closed by a Findings and Award, remember that
if your condition becomes worse, we can Petition to Reopen within 5
years from the date of injury. Keep
this date in mind and if you are worse, call us 3 months BEFORE the
5-year anniversary date of your injury.
Just Some Last Reminders
It is a criminal offense to file a false claim to obtain
workers compensation benefits. The
cost of workers compensation insurance is driving many employers either
out of business or out of California where the rates are the highest in
the country currently. Therefore
the insurance companies may hire investigators on suspicious claims to
film injured workers doing their daily activities without their
knowledge. If you are
filmed doing activities that you claim you are unable to do because of
your injury, the insurance companies can and will use this film to
destroy your claim and even prosecute for fraud.
Your case cannot be settled until after your condition
becomes permanent and stationary.
It will not jeopardize your case or impact upon the value
of your claim if you return to work.
Just be careful that you don't aggravate your injury.
If you have questions about your case you can always talk
to one of our legal assistants. Our
legal assistants are trained to answer many questions about your case.
If they cannot answer your questions or handle a problem that may
arise, they will check with the Attorney - Lawyer.
Please do not demand to speak to your Attorney - Lawyer.
We trust that this
information will be useful to you and hope you will refer to it in the
course of your case.
Refer to our Workers'
Compensation Valuation document to get a better understanding about
the method by which valuations are assigned to workers' compensation
I hope you find the
above information useful and informative.
This outline should give you a timetable of what to expect during
your claims normal aging process.
Please feel free to call our office at (951) 275-0111 or
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
regarding your questions about worker's compensation. You may also
complete print and complete our Workers'
Compensation Interview Form which is in a PDF format. You may
FAX your completed Workers' Compensation Interview Form to (951)
version of this Memorandum is also available.
Peter M. Schaeffer Esq.