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What constitutes a legally catastrophic workers’ comp injury?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

A work injury that results in chronic pain, loss of wages and mounting medical bills is certainly a catastrophe to the worker who is suffering, and their family. No one can deny the devastating effect any work injury can have. However, not every injury meets the legal definition of “catastrophic injury” in the state of California.

Why is “catastrophic injury” an important designation?

Legally designating a workers comp injury “catastrophic” can make a significant difference in the protection and benefits available to someone who suffered an injury at work.

How is legally catastrophic determined in California?

The California Labor Code has guidelines on how to determine legally catastrophic injury for the state of California.

What major factors determine a legally catastrophic injury?

Labor Code 4660.1 articulates the following criteria to determine “catastrophic” in relation to a workers’ compensation injury:

  1. The intensity of the treatment, received by the employee, that was reasonably required to cure or relieve the effects of the injury.
  2. The ultimate outcome of the injury is permanent and stationary.
  3. The severity of the physical injury and the impact on the employee’s ability to perform “activities of daily living”.
  4. Whether the injury suffered is closely analogous to one of the injuries specified in the statute: loss of limb, paralysis, severe burn, severe head injury.
  5. If the injury is incurable and progressive.

If you have suffered an injury at work, especially if you believe that your injury is catastrophic, you may be able to receive compensation and benefits to help you and your family.


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