If you are injured on the job, the stress of wondering how to pay your bills and recover the medical treatment you need can be overwhelming. The situation can be especially trepidatious for disabled San Francisco workers trying to support families and give their children the best opportunities possible.
Even though California law guarantees injured San Francisco workers are to be compensated for workplace injuries, workers’ compensation insurance claims adjusters may try to downplay injuries in an attempt to pay as little compensation as possible. Fortunately, San Francisco worker’ compensation attorneys can help disabled workers navigate the complex system of laws to get them the benefits needed to maintain their quality of life.
What does the Disability Evaluation Unit do?
When San Francisco workers are injured to the point they become disabled and have their ability to earn a living affected, they may be eligible for permanent disability payments. The California Division of Workers’ Compensation Disability Evaluation Unit (DEU) evaluates physical and mental injuries to determine an injured worker’s disability rating.
The Disability Evaluation Unit issues three rating types:
- Summary ratings: Unrepresented workers with no application of adjudication are issued summary ratings based on Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) or treating physician reports.
- Consultative ratings: Injured workers represented by attorneys who file pro per applications receive consultative ratings based on Agreed Medical Evaluator (AME), QME, or treating physician reports.
- Formal ratings: These ratings are presented by expert witnesses at the request of a California workers’ compensation judge. They are considered formal evidence in workers’ compensation appeals hearings.
How does the DEU determine disability ratings?
In 2005, the California Department of Labor revamped its rating system to determine an injured worker’s disability rating and payment schedule for workplace accidents. Once an injured worker’s condition becomes permanent and stationary, meaning they are at their maximum point of recovery, doctors perform an assessment of the patient’s health.
Disability ratings are based on a complex combination of medical evaluations, job codes, and other factors. Workers’ compensation insurance claims adjusters often insist on sending injured workers to doctors the insurance company is familiar with and this may put the livelihood of the injured at risk. While many would expect doctors to be fair and impartial, the reality is insurance companies often pick doctors who may only see their point of view.
San Francisco workers’ compensation attorneys
Because the stakes are so high in workers’ compensation lawsuits, it is important that injured workers consider hiring an experienced and qualified San Francisco workers’ compensation attorney from the onset of their claim. Workers’ compensation attorneys are familiar with how the Disability Evaluation Unit works and how disability ratings are calculated.
Under California workers’ compensation laws, you may be able to be evaluated by a physician of your choice and an attorney can advocate for this option. Do not place your financial future at risk; contact a San Francisco workers’ compensation lawyer right away and get the justice and compensation you deserve.