…If your doctor gives you some restrictions, then it is up to your employer to accommodate those restrictions. If they can accommodate the restrictions, then you simply return to work within the modifications. If your employer cannot accommodate the restrictions, then you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. If you go into vocational rehabilitation, then the insurance carrier will provide you with retraining benefits. As with temporary disability, the retraining benefit is severely limited. For injuries after January 1, 2004 vocational rehabilitation has essentially been elminated. For injuries before January 1, 2004 there is a cap of $16,000.00 on the entire retraining process. All expenses including schools, counselors, and supplies, are counted against the cap. During the vocational retraining, you are entitled to a vocational rehabilitation maintaince allowance or “VRMA”. This is paid at the rate of $246.00 per week and is subject to the cap of $16,000.00. There is a 12% withholding which is set aside to pay your lawyer.
…If you miss time from work, you are typically entitled to receive a wage loss benefit called temporary disability. This is paid at two thirds of your average weekly wage up to certain maximums. It is important to understand that California workers’ compensation is a system of limited benefits. As of April 19, 2004 temporary disability is limited to a period of two years. The temporary disability is tax-free. Payments are not made for the first three days you are disabled unless you are hospitalized or unless you are unable to work for more than fourteen days. Once your doctor releases you to return to work or declares your condition to be stable from car accident injuries, the temporary disability benefit stops.