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Are You Litigating Disputed Temporary Disability Benefits?

Are You Litigating Disputed Temporary Disability Benefits?

If you are an injured worker or a workers’ comp attorney litigating disputed temporary disability benefits in the state of California, there is some recent litigation that may be of interest to you. The case, Parody Versus Central Concrete Supply Company centers on an employee who was hurt on the job, hurt again and the insurance company tried to deny the claim by saying the injury was a temporary exacerbation of the earlier injury. Therefore, they were asserting that they were under no obligation to pay for a second workers’ compensation claim.

How did it turn out?

Let’s take a look.

Fundamental Basics of California Workers’ Compensation Law

If a person is injured at work they are entitled to total temporary disability benefits if they meet one of two requirements:

  • The individual’s doctor has provided documentation stating that they are unable to work because of a work-related injury, or
  • The individual has temporary work restrictions and the employer is, for whatever reason, not accommodating them.

Typically, this process is pretty cut and dry. This case is a little different though. It involves an insurance company that is disputing temporary disability due to some rather unique circumstances.

They tried to overly simplify a complex situation and it didn’t work.

Breakdown of Parody Versus Central Concrete Supply Company

This case involves an individual who was injured on the job at some point and had been awarded some degree of disability for it. At some point, the person was involved in another event that caused a second work-related injury that exacerbated the first.

It may have been a temporary irritation or a permanent issue, but at the time the case was heard, that had not yet been determined.

At that point, the individual had not yet attained maximum medical improvement.

The insurance company attempted to assert that the new injury was nothing more than a flare-up or temporary exacerbation of the previous one. This, they claimed, absolved them of their obligation to pay temporary disability.

In response, the individual and likely his attorney were asserting that the injury was new – and rightly so.

Whether it was a temporary exacerbation of the original injury or a permanent one had no bearing on how it was viewed under the law. And according to the law, it was a new and separate injury that required either total temporary disability or the need for temporary work restrictions.

Lessons Learned: What Was Really Going On

The individual was entitled to total temporary disability benefits but the insurance company was confusing causation of the injury with causation of the disability. It was not correct, but this case is definitely noteworthy because there are some valuable lessons learned.

Sometimes you have to look a little deeper into a claim because things aren’t always what they seem.

If you have a California workers’ compensation claim, don’t try to handle it yourself. This case could have turned out a completely different way with the individual receiving no compensation for his second injury. Call Michael Burgis and Associates today to schedule a consultation to find out if you are owed compensation for a work-related accident.

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