Permanent Total Disability Presumptions

Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Helping People in Orange County

Work accidents can cause catastrophic harm, and many employees, unfortunately, sustain injuries that cause significant and lasting impairment. While in some instances, a person hurt at work may have to establish the extent of an injury to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, in certain circumstances, the burden of proof is diminished because an injury is presumed to be permanent and total. If you suffered harm in a workplace accident, you may be owed substantial benefits, and it is prudent to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Joseph Richards of Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. is a knowledgeable Orange County workers’ compensation attorney who may be able to offer clients advice regarding permanent and total disability presumptions and help clients to pursue the full benefits recoverable under the law. Our primary office is in Orange County, and we have a second office in Riverside County. We regularly help injured employees seek workers’ compensation benefits throughout Southern California.

Permanent Total Disability Presumptions

Under the California Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), certain injuries are presumed to be permanent and total. In other words, a claimant does not bear the burden of proving that the injury is permanent and total in character. Specifically, the Act states that the loss of both eyes or the loss of sight in both eyes and the loss of both hands or the loss of use of both hands constitute permanent total disabilities. Additionally, brain injuries that cause permanent mental incapacity and injuries that result in practically total paralysis may be deemed permanent and total as well.

The presumption that the aforementioned types of injuries are total is conclusive, which means that it is not subject to rebuttal. While the loss of eyes, sight, or hands are straightforward injuries, the Act does not define permanent mental incapacity or what constitutes practically total paralysis, and the definition of such injuries is open to interpretation by the courts. In cases involving injuries other than those deemed presumptively total by the Act, whether the harm suffered is permanent and total will be evaluated based on the facts of the case. Every case is different, and there are no guarantees.

California Workers’ Compensation Permanent Disability Benefits

In California, a person must meet minimum requirements to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Specifically, only employees who suffer work-related injuries are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If a worker sustains a qualifying injury, the courts will typically assess the extent and duration of the individual’s harm and assign a disability percentage that equates to his or her disability level to determine an appropriate benefits award.

In matters involving permanent and total disability presumptions, such an analysis may be unnecessary, as a person with a permanent total disability is considered 100% disabled. In other words, a person with a permanent total disability has sustained a complete loss of earning capacity. Therefore, a 100% disability rating may afford a worker the right to permanent total disability benefits for the duration of his or her life. Permanent total disability benefits are paid at the temporary disability rate, which is two-thirds of a person’s average weekly earnings, subject to state minimum and maximum limits. If the injury occurred after January 1, 2003, the benefit rate may be adjusted yearly based on increases in the state average weekly wage.

Meet with a Trusted Orange County Lawyer

Workplace injuries often cause irreparable harm, and permanent total disability presumptions can allow injured employees to recover significant benefits. Joseph Richards of the Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. is an experienced attorney, and if you suffered an injury at work, he may be able to guide potential clients through the process of pursuing any benefits potential clients may be owed. We have offices in Orange and Riverside, and we represent employees in workers’ compensation cases in Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, San Bernardino, Irvine, Moreno Valley, El Centro, Corona, Temecula, Long Beach, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, and San Diego. We regularly aid injured workers in additional cities in Orange County as well as Riverside, Los Angeles, Imperial, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties. We understand the hardships workplace injuries can cause, and we will zealously pursue the best possible legal outcome in our clients’ cases. Potential new clients can reach us at (844) 562-2667 or through our online form to schedule a consultation.

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“Mr. Richards was one of three attorneys referred to me. He was the only attorney that took time to really listen to my situation to determine if he could help me. Mr. Richards is highly experienced, personable, and reassuring. Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. is tech savvy. He fights diligently for the best possible outcome for his clients. He handled my case easily. I would, without hesitation, refer my family, friends, and acquaintances to his law office.” Susan