The Workers’ Compensation Process in California
The workers’ compensation system is a state-mandated insurance program that provides essential benefits to those who have been injured or have suffered an illness as a result of a work-related duty. The workers’ compensation system is very complex and, at times, nuanced. As a result, it is important to understand how the system works in order to obtain coverage at a time of need.
Quick Summary of Key Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In California, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system; therefore, employees will have the right to certain benefits without having to prove the employer’s negligence caused their injury. Benefits are usually categorized into the following segments: Medical care and treatment, Temporary disability benefits, Permanent disability benefits, Vocational rehabilitation, and/or death benefits.
The amount of benefits awarded to the injured worker will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of injury sustained.
Type of Work-Related Injuries
For the most part, there are two types of injuries that can be covered by workers’ compensation. The first type of injury is referred to as a specific injury, where an accident caused the injury. Common workplace accidents can include: Falling off a ladder, Auto accident while making a delivery for work, Being crushed by a machine at work, or suffering a slip and fall because of a slippery floor at work.
The second form of work-related injury is referred to as a cumulative trauma. These injuries are caused when the worker is subjected to repetitive bodily motion. Over an extended period of time, these repetitive injuries cause injury to a particular region of the body. Common injuries can include: Carpal tunnel syndrome, Raynaud’s syndrome, Tennis and golfer’s elbow, Back injuries, and rotator cuff tendonitis.
Without regard to the type of injury sustained, workers’ can experience a lifetime of ramifications. Sadly, some workers are denied coverage or subject to a reduced award. In effort of preventing this, it is critically important to carefully follow the stringent workers’ compensation process and observe all the time restrictions.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Filing a workers’ compensation claim will involve two essential steps: Reporting the injury or ailment to the employer, and filing the proper workers’ compensation claim with the employer.
Pursuant to the California Labor Code §5401, whether the injury occurred as a result of an accident or developed over a period of time, the injury must be reported to the employer within 30 days of becoming aware of the condition. Once reported, the employer should provide a DWC-1 form, which will inquire specifics about the injury. The employer is then tasked with submitting the form to the insurance company.
If the claim has been denied for any reason, the opportunity to challenge the decision is possible by filing an application for adjudication of claim.
Protect Your Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Obtain the Support of a Skilled Attorney
The workers’ compensation process can be intricate, and unfortunately, far too many injured workers are denied coverage. If you have been injured while at work and are in the midst of applying for workers’ compensation benefits or have submitted a claim but have been denied coverage, it is necessary to seek the legal advice of a qualified attorney.
Attorney Scot T. Moga understands that when a person has been injured at work, receiving workers’ compensation benefits is a crucial necessity. As a result, Attorney Moga works hard to maximize award benefits for injured workers. Consider obtaining a free, no-obligation consultation with Attorney Scot T. Moga today.