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Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld

Relentlessly Protecting California Workers' Rights Since 1956

What Type of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Pursue If My Catastrophic Injuries Keep Me from Returning to Work?


If you have sustained catastrophic injuries that prevent you from returning to work, you may be eligible for various types of compensation benefits, depending on the specific circumstances of your case.

In the most serious of cases involving catastrophic injuries, a worker may never be able to return to gainful employment. Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits are designed to provide wage loss benefits to an employee during these critical circumstances.

Our Santa Barbara workers’ compensation attorneys at Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld have successfully represented California employees eligible to pursue PTD benefits since 1956. We understand that accessing this critical financial support can improve our clients’ quality of life, and we want to ensure they can obtain the benefits they are entitled to without issue.

Understanding California’s Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Workers Who Suffer Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries are typically severe and may result in long-term or permanent disabilities.

Some of the workers’ compensation benefits you might be able to pursue in such a situation:

  • Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD)

If your catastrophic injuries temporarily prevent you from working while you recover, you may be entitled to TTD benefits. These benefits provide a portion of your pre-injury wages during your recovery period.

  • Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD)

If your catastrophic injuries are permanent and prevent you from returning to any gainful employment, you may be eligible for PTD benefits. These benefits compensate for your lost earning capacity, typically at a set percentage of your pre-injury wages.

  • Medical Benefits

Workers’ compensation typically covers all necessary medical treatment for work-related injuries. This can include surgeries, doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medications, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.

  • Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation programs help injured workers retrain for different types of employment if they cannot return to their previous jobs due to catastrophic injuries. This can include education and job placement services.

  • Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD)

If your injuries result in permanent impairment but do not entirely prevent you from working, you may be entitled to PPD benefits. The amount of these benefits is often based on the extent of your impairment as determined by a medical evaluation.

  • Social Security Disability Benefits

If your catastrophic injuries are severe and you expect to be disabled for an extended period or permanently, you may also be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Workers’ compensation and SSDI can sometimes be received concurrently, but there may be offsets to prevent “double-dipping.”

  • Death Benefits

If you are the surviving family member of a worker who suffered catastrophic injuries and died, you may be eligible for death benefits, including compensation for funeral expenses and ongoing support for dependents.

It is crucial to understand that workers’ compensation and the specific benefits available to you can differ significantly from one injury to another. Additionally, the severity of your injuries, medical assessments, and other factors will impact the benefits you receive.

To navigate this process successfully and ensure your rights are protected throughout the claims process to maximize the benefits you are entitled to, contact our California workers’ compensation attorneys today to pursue the best outcome for your critical case.

At Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld, our California workers’ compensation attorneys 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. 

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