Many people employed in California can be unaware of workers’ compensation laws and what they entail. Sometimes, it is not until these laws become relevant to their lives that they start to wonder what their entitlements are and whether they have any rights at all. If you have been injured at work in California, here are a few things you need to know about your options going forward.
No-Fault Workers’ Compensation System
California operates somewhat differently from other parts of the country by employing a no-fault workers’ compensation system. When an employee is injured on the job, in general it does not matter if it was the employer or employee’s fault. This means that if you are injured at work, you may be entitled to benefits – even if it was your fault.
What Benefits Are You Entitled to Under the No-Fault Workers’ Compensation System?
If you have been injured in the workplace, you are entitled to several non-cash benefits that, unlike the unemployment benefit and others, are tax-exempt.
You can receive compensation for your medical treatment costs and any associated expenses like prescription drugs and medical aid devices. You may even be compensated for travel to your medical-related appointments. These payments can be a significant weight off any employee’s mind, given the average cost of healthcare in the United States.
Temporary or Permanent Disability Payments
Temporary disability payments make up two-thirds of the average weekly worker’s wage. You can be eligible for this form of compensation for up to two years from your injury date unless you suffer from conditions relating to your job like severe burns, amputation, chronic lung disease, you may be eligible for extended disability payments.
If your injuries affect your ability to return to your former job or enter the job market, you may receive permanent disability payments based on your age, occupation, injury, and doctor’s restrictions.
Life Pension Payments
If you have been severely disabled, your workers’ compensation could come in the form of life pension payments. These are weekly payments on top of permanent disability payments for the rest of your life.
Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit
Workers who cannot return to their previous job or in an alternative or altered role with their employer can retrain in another line of work. You may be eligible for vocational retraining costs at state-approved schools, covering fees, tuition, and books up to $6,000.
Death benefits can be paid to the spouses or dependents of workers killed in work-related activities, including burial costs.
Can You Still Sue?
It can be worth talking to a workers’ compensation attorney about your options. Even though the no-fault workers’ compensation system means you cannot sue your employer, you may be able to claim for benefits outside of the system. These might include state disability insurance benefits, settlements from a third party, and social security disability benefits.
The current workers’ compensation laws in California are designed to provide various benefits for employees and employers. However, you may be eligible for more compensation and help than you think. Schedule a free consultation with an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney to find out more.