Workers With Pre-Existing Injuries Can Be Injured Again

Not surprisingly, men and women who work in blue collar jobs incur more work-related injuries and file a much higher percentage of workers' compensation claims than those who work in office settings.

It's common for blue collar workers who have reached maximum recovery from a work-related injury and returned to work to suffer a subsequent industrial injury. If a worker already had a disability or impairment at the time of the pre-existing injury, recovering additional workers' compensation benefits for the subsequent injury becomes complex but not impossible.

California lawmakers created the Subsequent Injuries Benefit Trust Fund (SIBTF) for this reason. In order to collect SIBTF benefits, these criteria must be met:

  • The employee must have a pre-existing permanent partial disability (PPD).
  • The employee must have a subsequent industrial disability of 35 percent or more (unless the injury is to an equal or opposite appendage, such as a foot or arm).
  • The two disabilities combined must be greater than what the employee's disability would have been if the employee suffered only the subsequent and not the pre-existing disability.
  • The two disabilities combined must be equal to 70 percent or more permanent disability.

Clearly, recovering SIBTF benefits is a complex matter that is difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish without assistance from a knowledgeable workers' compensation lawyer. Los Angeles attorney Anthony Choe has the experience and knowledge necessary to help injured workers navigate this complicated process and litigate to recover SIBTF benefits if necessary.

What You Need To Know About SIBTF Benefits

State lawmakers created the SIBTF through Labor Code § 4751. Its intent is to provide people with pre-existing disabilities an opportunity to be hired without the employer taking on increased risk should another injury occur that exacerbates the pre-existing condition. The initial disability can be the result of a work injury, a nonwork injury or a birth injury.

For example, a construction worker may have a work-related injury that results in permanent partial disability (PPD), but the worker is still able to return to work. If that worker has a subsequent work-related injury that, combined with the pre-existing disability, leaves the worker above 70 percent disabled, he may qualify to recover SIBTF funds for the rest of his life.

If an injured worker qualifies for SIBTF benefits, the state will pay the difference between the injured party's total disability and the amount of disability from the subsequent work injury alone.

Put Our Experience To Work For You

SIBTF cases are not something to tackle without professional legal help, nor are they something for an inexperienced attorney. We focus on workers' compensation law and handle cases for injured workers throughout Los Angeles. Call 213-986-8498 or contact us online. The initial consultation is free, and we only collect if we help you obtain a recovery.