If you have been injured on the job, it’s critical to know your rights and options when it comes to care and compensation for your injury. By law, employers must carry worker’s compensation insurance that is appropriate to the job, so you should never be in a position to be denied proper care.
About California workers compensation
In California, workers compensation is considered no-fault, meaning that there is no distinction made as to whose fault the accident was, only that it happened while on the job.
The benefits that employees can expect include:
1. Payment of medical costs
Medical costs can include just about everything, from the initial evaluation to any prescribed treatments and surgery, if needed. Medications, mobility aids, and transportation to and from appointments are also covered with a mileage rate of .54 per mile.
2. Disability payments
If you experience time off as a result of your workplace injury, workers compensation will pay two-thirds of your average weekly pay up to a weekly maximum. These payments can continue, if required, for not more than two years from the date of injury. However, if you have suffered an injury that results in one of the following conditions, you may be entitled to extend those payments for up to 240 weeks:
- Hepatitis B or C
- Severe burn injuries
- Specific eye injuries
- Chronic lung disease
- Pulmonary fibrosis
If your injury means that you are unable to return to work or prevents you from seeking another job, you may be eligible for permanent disability payments. The amount depends on a number of variables including the extent of the injury, your age, your occupation, and your doctor’s recommendations. The duration of permanent disability payments can range anywhere from four weeks to 14 years.
3. Life pension payments
The life pension benefit is a small weekly, lifetime payment on top of permanent disability payments and is specifically for workers who are 70 – 90 percent disabled.
4. Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit
The supplemental job displacement benefit is for any worker who is no longer able to function in their previous position and whose employer has not offered them modified work. It is a flat fee of $6,000 toward educational retraining, tuition, books, and fees, at state-approved schools.
5. Death benefits
The death benefit is offered to spouses or dependents of workers who have passed away as a result of their work-related injury.
Getting the care you need
If you have been injured on the job, be sure you are accessing the care you need to address your injury. Not doing so could result in a lifetime of pain and severely impact your ability to live independently. Even a seemingly trivial injury, such as a sore back, can lead to long-term complications if it isn’t addressed right away.
To ensure you are protected against any possible outcome, be sure to report the injury to your employer immediately. This way, even if you do not seek medical intervention at that time, you will still be covered by workers compensation should you decide to do so in the future.