Will workers’ compensation pay me if I can never return to work?


In 2020, 3.7% of California’s workforce filed injury claims, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations. Workers’ compensation ensures that employees’ medical expenses related to these injuries get paid by their employers.

However, if you are one of the injured workers who suffer a permanent injury and cannot return to work, you may worry about more than just the cost of your medical bills. You should understand how workers’ compensation insurance manages permanent injuries.

What to do immediately after an injury

When you get injured at work, have your employer file a claim with workers’ compensation immediately. Once approved, these temporary benefits pay your medical expenses and two-thirds of your most recent income. The severity of the injury determines how long you qualify for the temporary wage supplement.

What to expect with a permanent disability

Your doctor manages your care and determines if you can return to work. Once you have fully healed, if your doctor determines that your injury prevents you from working, you may qualify for permanent total disability. These benefits begin after your temporary disability payments run out. The amount of money is still the same as two-thirds of your pre-injury wages.

Some injuries qualify for automatic permanent total disability

Occasionally, an injury is so severe that workers’ compensation immediately considers the person permanently disabled. The most common injuries that fall into this category are:

  • traumatic brain injuries
  • blindness in both eyes
  • the loss of use of both hands
  • total paralysis

Filing a workers’ compensation claim immediately after an accident could give you access to life-long wage supplementation if you suffer a permanent injury.

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