If you sustained an injury while performing your job duties, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. For work-related injuries or illnesses that prevent employees from working for a period of time, temporary total disability (TTD) benefits can be obtained, but it is crucial that you seek medical attention first. Your doctor will be able to provide a diagnosis and determine if you are unable to return to work right away as a result of your work-related injury or illness, which is a key element in obtaining benefits from your employer’s insurance company.
How Soon Can I Get Temporary Disability Benefits?
A waiting period will be required before you are able to collect TTD benefits. Generally, one will have to be out of work for about three to seven days before eligibility for these benefits kick in. If you are out of work for longer than three to seven days, you will receive benefits from the time you were first disabled. The wage benefits you receive will generally amount to about two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a weekly minimum.
How Long Does it Last?
In most cases, injured workers are able to continue to collect TTD benefits until one of the following occurs:
- Your treating physician states that you are able to return to work: Your doctor might decide that you are able to resume working with only a few minor adjustments to your job duties, such as not lifting heavy objects, or doing desk work instead of physical activities and, as long as your employer offers you modified work that meets these restrictions, you will stop receiving benefits. Even if you do not accept this offer, your benefits will come to an end.
- You reached maximum medical improvement (MMI): Reaching MMI does not mean you fully recovered from your injuries. Instead, it means you have recovered as much as you can from your injuries and you now have some type of permanent disability. When this occurs, you will be able to start receiving permanent disability benefits.
- You hit the limit: If you reached the temporary disability limits in your state, you will cease to receive TTD benefits. This limit is often a problem for employees who end up caught in a gap between MMI and permanent disability. If this is the case for you, your attorney will be able to address this in court to extend your benefits.
Disputes Regarding When You Can Return to Work
If there is a dispute regarding your ability to return to work, the insurer can request an independent medical exam (IME) by another doctor of their choosing. If you or the insurer disagrees with that doctor’s opinion, either of you has the right to request a hearing in front of your state worker’s compensation board. However, if you refuse an IME, your benefits will be cut off.
Contact a Skilled Workers' Comp Attorney Today!
If you sustained an injury while performing your job duties, it is important that you apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, you should also consider hiring a workers’ compensation attorney to help you navigate this often complex process, so you can have the best possible chance of obtaining the benefits you deserve. At Alvandi Law Group, P.C., our Orange County workers’ compensation attorneys have been serving Southern California for over 30 years and are backed by a proven track record of success.