FAQ WORKER COMPENSATION
Worker Compensation is applicable when you have experienced a traumatic work event, also known as a specific injury. Some injuries are the result of a single event—for example, a warehouse worker who falls in the warehouse and hurts his back, or an employee driving a company truck to or from a job site gets into an auto accident.
Repeated exposures at work are also know as cumulative trauma injuries. Some injuries are the result of repetitive motion, such as a factory worker who develops carpal tunnel syndrome from
repetitive grabbing and packing factory products. Another example is a construction worker who develops cancer as a result of working with chemicals or asbestos for decades
Workers’ compensation covers some psychological injuries. The law is still developing in this area, but in all psychological-injury cases, an employee must at least show that work was the “predominant” cause of the injury. In other words, if you claim that a traumatic work incident contributed to your depression, you must prove that the event was at least 51% responsible for your depression in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Q: What’s the time limit to file a workers’ compensation claim in California?
A: The statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim in California is 1 year from the date of the job-related injury. However, it’s important to keep in mind that other deadlines must also be met if you want to avoid having your workers’ compensation claim denied. For example, California law requires that you report your work-related injury to your supervisor or some other person in management within 30 days from the date of the injury.
Q: What benefits am I entitled to?
A: If you’re injured in a work-related accident in California, the following benefits may be available: Medical costs such as doctor visits, tests, medicines, and physical rehabilitation, mileage, among other things. Temporary disability benefits. If your injury prevents you from doing your usual job while recovering, you can receive financial compensation generally about two thirds of your average weekly rate. Whether you can return to your usual job duties is based on your treating doctor’s opinion and the physical requirements of your regular job duties. Permanent disability benefits. If you won’t recover completely, no matter how much treatment you receive, you can receive financial compensation once your treating doctor issues a final report that indicates you have a permanent disability. Supplemental job displacement benefits. You can receive a voucher to help pay for retraining or skill enhancement if you’re eligible to receive permanent disability benefits, your employer doesn’t offer you work, and you don’t return to work for your employer. Death benefits. Dependents of a worker killed as a result of an on-the-job injury can receive death benefits, including weekly financial compensation and money for funeral expenses.
Q: Can I use my own doctor?
A: Workers who “predesignate” their physician by informing their employer through a written statement or using DWC Form 9783 can use the doctor they select. However, this must be done before the worker suffers the work-related injury. If a worker doesn’t predesignate a physician, the worker’s employer will usually have a panel of treating doctors through their Work Comp Insurance carrier from which the employee can select the treating doctor.
Q: What if my employer wasn’t at fault for my injury?
A: Workers’ compensation in California is a no-fault insurance system. This means you can recover workers’ compensation benefits even if your employer wasn’t at fault for your injury. Theirs is an exception to this rule. If you intentionally cause your injury, you can’t recover workers’ compensation benefits.
Q: What happens if my claim is denied or I don’t agree with my benefits?
A: If you disagree with the decision reached concerning your workers’ compensation claim, you can file a notice of appeal.
Q: Do I need to carry workers’ compensation insurance?
A: All California employers that employ at least 1 person must carry workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation insurance must be purchased from a licensed insurance company or through the State Compensation Insurance Fund. If you are injured while working for an uninsured employer, the State of California has an uninsured employer fund to cover these injuries. Also if the employer is uninsured, a civil action may be filed in the CA Superior Court instead of with the WCAB ( Workers Comp Appeals Board).
Q: What workers’ compensation notices is an employer required to give to employees?
A: Employer must post the Notice to Employees poster in an open and obvious place at your work site. This notice provides employees with information on your workers’ compensation coverage, as well as information on where to get medical care for work injuries.
Q: What does an employer need to do after an injury occurs?
A: There are a number of steps employers need to take when an employee is injured on the job: Make sure the employee has access to emergency medical care.
Provide a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1) to the injured employee within 1 day of learning of their injury. Once the employee returns the form with the “employee” section filled out, fill out the “employer” section and give the form to the claims administrator and a copy of the form to the employee. Within 1 day of receiving the employee’s filled-out form, authorize up to $10,000 for appropriate medical treatment. Provide transitional work (light duty work) whenever appropriate.
Q: Can an employer just fire the injured employee?
A: It’s illegal for an employer to fire or otherwise punish an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Q: How can I make an appointment?
A. Making an appointment is easy. You can call 714-441-0440 today, fill out an online form to make arrangements for your free initial consultation. We offer Saturday hours by appointment. We are generally able to see you within one or two days of your call. If your situation require immediate attention, we will make every effort to see you the same day that you contact our office. On the other hand, if you’re injured while doing something outside the scope of your employment (for example, driving home for lunch), the injury is probably not covered. 2 basic types of covered injuries: