California workers compensation law is administered by the California department of industrial relations. They have a recorded message providing answers to many typical questions 24/7 at 1-800-736- 7401. During normal business hours you may call a local office and ask to speak with the Information and Assistance (I&A) Unit. The program also offers free informational seminars for injured workers.
Workers comp in CA is similar to other states. It provides coverage for employees in the event of injuries or illnesses obtained while on the job. Examples of situations covered under the program include slipping on spilled liquids and injuring your back, or getting hurt in a vehicle accident while making deliveries for work. There may also be situations that develop over time such as loss of hearing resulting from repeated exposure to excessive noises at work.
CA workers comp insurance provides 6 main benefits:
If you have been injured at work, report the situation and details to your supervisor as soon as possible. Prompt reporting of workers compensation issues helps prevent delays in payments. If your employer is not aware of the incident within 30 days, you may even risk losing your benefits under workers comp.
You must complete a DWC form 1 and submit it to your employer. Your employer will provide this form for you. If you have trouble getting the form from your employer, you can download it on the DWC website.
If your injury occurred in 2004 or later, there are limits on the treatment you may receive. Chiropractor, physical therapy and occupational therapy visits are limited to 24 visits unless additional visits are authorized.
Under Temporary Disability Payments, you should expect to receive about 2/3rds of the gross wages you would normally receive while working. However, there is a maximum amount allowed which is about $882 as of 2007. These benefit payments are not taxed.
Injured workers are not required to have attorneys during the claim process. You may handle the issues yourself. However, the process can be quite complex and you may want to consider the assistance of an attorney that specializes in compensation claims.
The claims process can become lengthy. It's fairly common for one side to suggest a settlement as a means to resolve disputes. While a lump sum settlement may seem attractive, it's wise to consider all the factors before accepting. Many times you may lose any rights to any additional actions under the claim. Your injury may digress or continue to provide problems for you. You may have ongoing prescription and medical costs. You may lose the ability to earn income at the level you were previously earning. Consider these factors before making a final decision on a settlement.
Find out about workers comp codes
Learn more about what is workers comp