Workers Compensation in California

You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by California state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of California workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.

Workers Compensation Statistics in California?

California Department of Industrial Relations reports California’s non-fatal workplace illness and injury rate is higher than the national average. Moreover, 28% of work injuries occurred among workers with less than a year of tenure. As well, the top 3 leading causes of lost-time injuries were overexertion, contact with an object or equipment, and falls. The work field with the most days away from work was transportation & material-moving, followed by food preparation.

How Does Workers Comp Work in California?

There is a standard practice to follow when going through the California workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss. 

California Workers Compensation coverage is mandatory for all employers. You can receive benefits no matter who was at fault for your job injury, and regardless of whether you are full or part-time. As well, you can predesignate your personal physician with DWC Form 9783, before you are injured. This means you can see them right after you are injured. Of note, California law covers psychiatric injuries for employees with at least six months tenure.

The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in California are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.

Get Medical Attention

After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a California healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.

Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.

When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.

File a First Report of Injury

Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how California workers comp works.

California sets a 30-day time limit for reporting an injury or illness. If you wait more than 30 days, your employer might not be required to provide benefits. Your employer must give you a DWC 1 Form one working day after you report your injury. Giving the completed form to your employer opens your case. If the claim isn’t denied by the adjuster within 90 days, it is generally considered accepted. The statute of limitations for filing a claim is one year from the date of injury.

What The First Report Will Include

The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report  with the report of injury.

Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. 

California Workers’ Compensation stipulates your temporary disability benefits are generally two thirds of the pre-tax wages you lose while you’re recovering. Your first payment is due within 14 days after your employer learns that you have an injury, and your treating doctor says your injury prevents you from working. If your doctor says you will never recover completely, you may be eligible to receive permanent disability benefits.

Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In learning how California workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a California workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in California

Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across California state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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