• Essential Questions on California Workers’ Compensation Laws
  • January 11, 2011
  • Law Firm: Mesriani Law Group A Professional Law Corporation - Santa Monica Office
  • Under the law, your employer is required to provide a sick or injured employee Workers’ Compensation benefits. Basically, if an employee sustains work-related injuries or illness, he has the right to receive prompt medical treatment regardless of whose fault the accident or condition is.

    In California, Workers’ Compensation has been established as early as the second decade of the 20th century in fact, it is one of the oldest social insurance programs in the US. Under this no-fault program, an employee may receive benefits if you were hurt in the performance of your duties (ex. car accident while making a delivery, slip and fall at the construction site, etc.) or if you suffer from a medical condition or illness due to repeated exposures at work (ex. cancer because of exposure to hazardous chemicals and the like).

    Thus, if you suffered from an injury or disease because of work, you may receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. Here is a brief but essential FAQs on California Workers’ Compensation FAQs:

    •    What kind of benefits can an injured or sick employee receive under Workers’ Compensation?

    There are 6 basic benefits under Workers’ Compensation insurance. These are: medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and even death benefits.

    •    Can I sue my employer for my injuries, aside from accepting Workers’ Compensation benefits?

    No. Once you opt to receive benefits under Workers’ Compensation insurance, you automatically waive your right to sue your employer for your injuries or illness.

    However, waiving your right to sue your employer would not preclude you from filing a claim against other parties who may be held liable for your injuries. For example, if you were delivering a pizza and got struck by a drunk driver, you may file a lawsuit against the negligent person aside from receiving benefits under Workers’ Compensation.

    •    I just got injured/found out I got sick because of work! What do I do now?

    First, you have to report the injury/illness to your employer as soon as possible. If your medical condition is something that developed or was caused by continuous exposure, report it as soon as this is diagnosed and you have reason to believe it was caused by your job. Remember that promptly reporting your injury or illness can avoid delays and facilitate a faster investigation of your claim. If you don’t report your injury within 30 days from discovery or after sustaining it, you may lose your right to receive benefits.

    •    So I’ve filed my claim, what next?

    The claims administrator is required to authorize medical treatment within one working day after filing your claim. However, if you have a disagreement with the claims administrator and your case is complex, you may seek the assistance of a California Worker Compensation attorney.