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Disability benefits will help if you cannot return to work

Facing mounting medical bills in the aftermath of a workplace injury is enough to cause anxiety for any victim. It is a situation that can be exacerbated if the injury left the worker unable to return to work. Workers in San Diego and across California might find comfort in knowing that they will likely be eligible for disability benefits through the state-operated workers' compensation insurance system.

The program typically pays the injury-related medical bills for hospital stays, doctor visits, medicines, physical therapy, laboratory tests, and X-rays. These benefits will also cover necessary medical equipment and reasonable travel costs for treatment. If the worker lost wages while he or she recovered from the injury, temporary disability benefits would be paid for a predetermined period.

If the worker suffers a permanent disability -- mental or physical -- from which he or she will never recover fully, the workers' comp program will pay permanent disability benefits. However, if the injured worker can do a different job, and the employer does not offer alternative or modified work, supplemental job displacement benefits might be awarded. This will equip the victim with skills that will help him or her to obtain alternative work.

All these benefits, including permanent disability benefits, apply for an occupational illness or injury that followed a single event or that resulted from long-term exposure, such as repetitive strain injuries. The benefits claims process could be daunting, but a San Diego attorney with experience in dealing with the California workers' compensation system can provide support and guidance. Help is also available for families who lost loved ones in workplace accidents to navigate the claims process for death benefits.

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