Workers’ compensation is a system of insurance that pays benefits to people who are injured on the job or develop a work-related illness. It applies to injuries that occur suddenly, such as being injured in a fall at a construction site, as well as those that build up gradually over time, such as tendonitis caused by making the same movements over and over or respiratory problems that develop as a result of poor ventilation in the workplace. The law requires employers in California to provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees who are hurt or become ill on the job.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in California
Several types of workers’ compensation benefits are available to people who are injured on the job in California. These include:
- Medical care needed to recover from a work-related injury or illness
- Temporary disability benefits to replace wages lost during recovery
- Permanent disability benefits in the event that a full recovery is not possible
- Supplemental job displacement benefits to help cover the cost of retraining for workers who don’t fully recover and don’t return to the same job
- Death benefits to aid the family members of workers who are killed by a work-related injury or illness
What to Do When Injured on the Job
In the event of a medical emergency, your first priority should be to seek medical help. For any other on-the-job injury or illness, you should first let your employer know about the problem as soon as you can after being injured or becoming ill. Once you have notified your employer, he or she is required by law to give or mail you a claim form within one working day, which you will then use to request benefits. If you choose to hire an attorney, your attorney will assist you with the claims process.
You are not required to have an attorney when you apply for workers’ compensation benefits, but it may be helpful to have someone on your side who knows the system and can advocate on your behalf – especially if your case is complex or if you disagree with a decision made by the claims administrator. For assistance with a workers’ compensation claim, contact an attorney with experience securing benefits for injured workers in California.