The workers’ compensation system was constructed to grant security and peace of mind to workers that they would be compensated justly in the event they were hurt on the job. You could get hurt by:
One event at work. Examples: hurting your back in a fall, getting into a car accident while making deliveries
Repeated exposures at work. Examples: hurting your hand from doing the same motion over and over for years, having a respiratory illness from constant exposure to chemicalsIn other words, if you have been injured during the course of your employment, you are likely to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Report the injury or medical condition to your employer. It is imperative to notify your employer about your condition as soon as possible so the administration can process your claim immediately. In the absence of your employer, you can report to your immediate supervisor or someone else in management. This helps avoid problems and delays in receiving benefits such as medical care. If your employer does not learn about your injury within 30 days, you might lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Get emergency treatment if needed. Your employer must make certain that you have access to treatment right away. Seek medical help and treatment only from authorized medical providers that take your company’s insurance.
Fill out a workers’ compensation claim form (DWC-1). This will be given to you by your employer once you report your injury or work-related illness.Note that California is a no fault state, meaning employees are entitled to receive benefits regardless of who was at fault in the cause of the accident.
The benefits available to injured workers in California include:
Medical Care This should be paid by your employer to help you recuperate from work-related injury or illness. Medical care includes doctor visits and other treatment services, diagnostic examination, medication, medical equipment, and travel costs reasonably necessary to your injury.
Temporary Disability Benefits This is the payment if you lose wages because your injury prevents you from doing your usual job duties while recovering. The minimum temporary disability weekly rate is $160, but it can increase depending on your situation.
Permanent Disability Benefits This is the payment if you don’t completely recover and your injury causes a permanent loss of physical or mental function that a physician can measure. The current weekly rate of payment is $1,059.38.
Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit This is a voucher to help pay for retraining or skill enhancement if you are eligible to receive permanent disability benefits, your employer does not offer you work, and you do not return to work for your employer. This benefit is available for workers injured in 2004 or later.
Death Benefits This is payment to your spouse, children, or other beneficiaries if you die from a job injury or illness. Burial expenses up to $10,000 are also covered. What happens if my employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage? If your employer does not provide insurance coverage, you should report your employer to the nearest Division of Labor Standards Enforcement office.
It’s illegal for your employer to punish or fire you for having a work-related injury. It’s also illegal for your employer to punish or fire colleagues who will testify in your case. A workers’ compensation attorney can assist you on filing a case against your employer/company.