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Stationary and permanent disability in California

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Navigating the complexities of workers’ compensation in California requires understanding of specific legal terminologies that clarify the benefits an injured worker is entitled to. Among these, the concepts of stationary and permanent disability are fundamental, each representing a different phase in the journey of recovery and compensation.

The distinction between stationary and permanent disability highlights California’s structured approach to supporting injured workers. The process aims to ensures that workers receive fair compensation for the lasting effects of their injuries.

Stationary disability

Stationary disability, or maximum medical improvement, is critical in the workers’ compensation claim process. It occurs when a physician determines that an injured worker’s condition is unlikely to improve or worsen with further medical treatment.

The stationary status is determined through a medical evaluation. This typically involves reviewing the injured worker’s medical history, conducting physical examinations and considering any ongoing symptoms or limitations.

This status doesn’t necessarily mean the worker has fully recovered but indicates that the injury has stabilized. At this point, temporary disability benefits, which compensate for lost wages during recovery, typically end. The focus then shifts to evaluating the permanent effects of the injury.

Permanent disability

When an injury permanently reduces a worker’s ability to perform work-related activities, it is classified as a permanent disability. The extent of this disability is quantified as a percentage to reflect how the injury affects the worker’s capacity to earn a living compared to their pre-injury state. This percentage directly influences the amount and duration of permanent disability benefits the worker is entitled to receive.

California’s workers’ compensation system uses a standardized schedule to calculate these benefits, considering factors such as the worker’s age, occupation and the severity of the physical impairment. Permanent disability benefits aim to compensate for the lasting impact of the injury on the worker’s earning potential, acknowledging that some injuries have irreversible consequences.

Workers sometimes have to fight for the benefits they’re due. Seeking legal assistance may be beneficial for those workers who don’t receive what they’re rightfully owed right from the start of their workers’ compensation experience.