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How Workers’ Comp Payments are Calculated in California

If you happen to be injured on the job in California, being able to understand the workers’ compensation payment structure for your state allows you to plan appropriately for your future. It is also important to understand this process so that you make sure your employer and any claims adjustor are making fair assessments.

Whether you or someone close to you is experiencing an injury or illness, it’s important to understand how to calculate workers’ compensation benefits in the state of California. Every state has a different way of handling workers’ comp, so we will highlight some of the specific ways that California is unique.

The Workers’ Compensation Process in California

First, it is important to understand the process for workers’ compensation and premium calculations.

Before starting, you might want to visit the California Department of Industrial Relations website to learn more about workers’ compensation in this state. In addition, the California Division of Workers’ Compensation offers seminars for people who are interested in finding out more about workers’ compensation coverage after an on-the-job injury.

On the Department of Industrial Relations website, you’ll find information on death benefits, mileage rates, modification to whole person impairment, state-wide average weekly wages (SAWW), the return-to-work supplement program (RTWSP), and permanent or temporary disability benefits and supplemental job displacement benefits.

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation seminars are free. They are held on the first Thursday or Friday of every month in most California cities’ local division offices. These seminars offer a presentation and then a question and answer segment. This is helpful for people who’d like to ask specific questions. Workshops are intended for injured workers who have recently filed a claim for workers’ compensation with their employer. However, any injured worker may benefit from these workshops. Therefore, the free workshops are open to the general public.

However, we can tell you that within 24 hours, your employer is required to give you paperwork regarding workers’ compensation if you are injured on the job. With this paperwork, you will find out the exact process for workers’ compensation and wage replacement in California.

This will cover information on transportation to treatment, workers’ compensation insurance, rehabilitation, income replacement through permanent or temporary disability, and medical care. This is excellent in the event you are an injured worker. It will also provide information on any death benefits, if applicable, for surviving family members.

Calculating California Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In California, if you are injured on the job, you are entitled to receive two-thirds of your pretax gross wage. This is set by state law and also has a maximum allowable amount. In 2018, for example, the maximum allowable amount was $1,215.27 per week for a total disability. This amount is adjusted annually. There is also a minimum amount that is eligible to be paid. The minimum published by the California Department of Industrial Relations for 2018 was $182.29.

Some companies have a “Disability Leave with Pay” program. This is not required by law in California, but it makes up the salary difference so that you receive your entire income if you were injured on the job. They take what the state pays and add more money on top of that so that you would get the entire amount that you would usually be paid.

To calculate your regular weekly wage, you divide your annual salary by 52. If someone makes $52,000 a year, this would amount to $1,000 weekly. The maximum benefit would be $666.66 in this case as state law stipulates the maximum benefit is 2/3 of your pretax gross wage.

If your employer has a “Disability with Leave Pay” program, they would make up the remaining $333.34 per week. The state would pay $666.66. No taxes are withheld on the $666.66 mentioned in this example above. If you have a permanent disability, you may also be eligible for Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits (SJDB). This consists of a voucher that may provide for up to $6,000 in compensation for vocational skills training and more. You will be eligible for up to $10,000 in compensation for medication, hospital expenses, doctor’s office visits, and physical therapy until the time when your claim is either accepted or denied.

Calculating Online Can Be Confusing

We understand that attempting to calculate your own workers’ compensation benefits can be confusing. This can happen even after reviewing excellent information that you find online.

It also can be the case that you have specific circumstances that may affect how your benefits are calculated. You may have medical conditions that require you to get multiple opinions from physicians. Based on the opinions of different physicians, your compensation amount can change.

Also, you may be trying to meet all of the various deadlines required to receive all of the compensation you are rightly owed. Navigating all of this can be challenging.

We Are Here to Help You

If you need help, we are here for you. The attorneys at Ratto Law Firm, P.C. help people just like yourself with workers’ compensation claims. We have law offices in Oakland, Concord, San Jose, Salinas, Sacramento, and Stockton. We are able to assist people all over Northern California.

We understand that you may be facing a difficult time. You might be in a lot of pain and working on making a difficult recovery. We would love to offer our assistance during times like these if we can be of any help to you.

Every case is unique when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. You may not necessarily need to have an attorney representing you 100% of the time. However, if you are concerned about your employer, workers’ compensation premium specifics, insurance company, physician or claims administrator treating you fairly, we are here to represent you. We will make sure you are treated fairly.

In addition, our fees are not paid by you, but through your workers’ compensation benefits. That is how the law works in California.

If you are interested in a free consultation, please contact the workers’ comp attorneys here at Ratto Law Firm, P.C. We will go over all of the details of your case and help you decide on what action might be most beneficial for you to take. We want to help you to get the maximum amount of compensation along with proper medical treatment. Our goal is that you are well taken care of so you can have a happy and productive life going forward.

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