The Workers’ Compensation System is not without controversy or flaws.
A Florida Instructor’s highly publicized work injury illustrates a benefit payment kerfuffle. How the workers’ compensation works has made a Teacher/Paraeducator struggle post-injury to make ends meet. A student had criminally assaulted her and, as a result, suffered severe injuries.
This article analyzes how a Seriously Injured Worker’s benefits can be terminated. The article’s analysis is under California Worker’s Compensation Law.
Despite suffering five broken ribs, receiving a severe concussion, sustaining a hearing loss, and having slowed speech, this brave Educator returned to the workplace. In the news account, she stated, “Unfortunately, a lot of my injuries that are not visible I’m going to have for the rest of my life.”. According to Dailymail.com, “[t]he educator said she has been struggling to resolve her workers’ compensation case.” She returned to work in a different job title. Since then, she has gone on unpaid leave. Nypost.com
How Do Temporary Disability Benefits Operate?
In the Workers’ Compensation System, temporary disability(TTD) benefits are paid when an individual cannot work their usual and customary occupation. The determination is made through a physician. There are times when an Injured Worker is determined to be able to perform limited work, i.e., light duty. In those instances, if the employer cannot accommodate the temporary work restrictions, the Injured Worker will continue receiving temporary disability benefits. With temporary disability benefits, there is a cap. For many injuries, the cap is at 104 weeks.
Did The Teacher’s Return To Work Impact Her Benefits?
Yes. In California Workers’ Compensation Law, an Injured Worker’s right to receive temporary disability benefits terminates when they return to work. This termination can occur when one returns to an alternative or modified work position. Thus, to receive renewed temporary disability benefits, the Injured Worker must re-establish their medical status via a medical provider. In the fact pattern presented, it would appear that the Teacher did not get medically certified despite going off of work again. Thus, no obligation was triggered to obligate the carrier to resume the payment of TTD benefits.
What If I Need Legal Advice?
If you want a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please get in touch with the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 30 years. Contact us today for more information.