Even when a job site is deemed safe, accidents can happen. You could dislocate your shoulder carrying a heavy load. A falling object could hit and hurt you even while wearing safety equipment. You could trip down the stairs at the office or get a repetitive stress injury from doing computer-related work. This is why every employee in California should know how workers’ compensation works.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that every employer is required to have in California. This differs from general liability insurance, which only covers bodily injury claims filed by a third party. Employers must have workers’ compensation insurance in place for employee injuries.
If you are hurt on the job, your employer is required to provide a workers’ compensation claim form within one working day of you reporting your injury. The claim then needs to be forwarded by your employer to the claims administrator for processing.
Employers that do not have workers’ compensation and are not among the few exemptions are violating the law. This is a misdemeanor in California, which is punishable by a minimum fine of $10,000 or imprisonment in jail for a year. Illegally uninsured employers are also subject to penalties of up to $100,000. If an employee gets hurt or sick at work and the employer isn’t insured, the employer must pay all bills related to this injury or illness.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Include?
When you are hurt at work, you are entitled to benefits under workers’ compensation insurance. This includes medical care to get the necessary treatment for your injuries, temporary disability, permanent disability, and job displacement benefits.
What Every Employee Should Know About Workers’ Compensation
Even if it is your very first day on the job and you get hurt, you should never have to pay out of pocket for a work injury. Employers are mandated by law to pay for workers’ compensation to give you benefits covering your medical bills and a portion of your lost income.
Some injuries occur from a single incident, such as being shocked by electrical wires at work. In other cases, it is from repeated exposure, such as working with harmful chemicals.
Regardless of the type of injury, if you are hurt on the job, you must report your injury immediately. If you do not report a workplace injury within 30 days, you may lose your workers’ compensation benefits.
You should also make sure you seek medical treatment. When you arrive for treatment, make sure you tell the healthcare professionals that your injury was work-related. From there, you should get a workers’ compensation claim form from your employer. You will need to fill it out and return it quickly. Your employer is responsible for sending this completed form to the claims administrator.
Your employer must authorize up to $10,000 in medical treatment within one working day from when you reported your injury as the administrator reviews the claim. Once it is approved, the workers’ compensation insurance coverage will take care of all your medical expenses related to this injury. You may also get temporary or permanent disability benefits.
If your injury keeps you from returning to your job, you’ll get a voucher to help pay for retraining so you can get a different job. If an employee dies from injuries sustained at work, their dependents will receive up to $10,000 in burial expenses.
In some cases, some unscrupulous employers won’t follow proper protocol, leaving their workers without benefits. Contact a Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney if you are being denied coverage after a workplace injury.