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At Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld, our Santa Barbara Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund (SIBTF) and workers’ compensation attorneys have protected the rights of California residents since 1956. Because of our experience, we know there are a lot of questions about how these benefits differ.

While both systems are designed to benefit injured workers, SIBTF comes into play under specific circumstances and addresses unique situations.

Here, we hope to clarify the critical differences between SIBTF and standard workers’ compensation.

What are the Key Differences Between SIBTF and Standard Workers’ Compensation?

One of the defining differences between workers’ compensation and SIBTF benefits is the nature of the injuries. Workers’ compensation generally covers injuries sustained on the job or occupational diseases. SIBTF specifically addresses subsequent injuries that occur to workers who already have a permanent disability, impairment, or pre-existing condition at the time of a new job-related injury.

Other essential differences include:

  • The Purpose and Calculation of the Benefits

Workers’ Compensation: Aims to compensate workers for injuries sustained on the job, based on the nature and extent of the work-related injury, providing medical benefits, wage replacement, rehabilitation services, and, in some cases, permanent disability benefits.

SIBTF: Designed to encourage employers to hire or retain individuals with pre-existing disabilities by providing additional compensation calculated based on a formula that considers the pre-existing disability, the subsequent injury, and the resulting combined disability. In addition, SIBTF offers further compensation to the employer through a subsidy, helping cover the cost of increased workers’ compensation benefits due to the combined effects of the pre-existing and subsequent injuries.

  • The Threshold for SIBTF Eligibility

Workers’ Compensation: No pre-existing disability requirement. Benefits are available for any work-related injury, regardless of whether the worker has a previous disability.

SIBTF: Requires the injured worker to have a pre-existing permanent disability or impairment at the time of the new injury. The subsequent injury must cause a combined disability more severe than the individual’s pre-existing condition.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for both employers and employees, as it affects how benefits are provided and calculated in cases where a worker has a pre-existing disability and sustains a subsequent injury on the job.

Our skilled California workers’ compensation and SIBTF attorneys can help play a significant role in navigating the complexities of both systems so our clients have access to the complete level of benefits they deserve.

We have six physical offices in Bakersfield, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, and Visalia, and our top-tier technologies provide a virtual reach to serve clients throughout California. We offer free in-person, telephone, and virtual consultations to offer straightforward legal advice for your unique needs.

Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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