If you sustain an injury in the workplace in the state of California, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, the process of obtaining those benefits can be challenging, which is why having an experienced lawyer on your side will ensure that you receive the benefits necessary to make a full recovery and return to work.
At the Law Offices of Andrew B. Shin, we are dedicated to helping our clients recover workers’ compensation after they experience an injury. With more than 25 years of experience, our San Jose workers’ comp attorney has the extensive knowledge of California law to guide you through the intricacies of the legal system.
California has a “no-fault” workers’ compensation system, which benefits both employees and employers since workers cannot file lawsuits against employers. In addition, employees don’t necessarily have to prove that employers were liable for the injury suffered on the job.
The following are the types of benefits provided to those eligible for workers’ compensation in California:
Q: What should I do if I am injured at work?
A: You should report the injury to your supervisor as soon as it takes place. If your injury developed over time, mention it to your supervisor as soon as you discover it. When you report promptly, you can avoid delays in care and preserve your rights to receive workers’ comp benefits.
If you need emergency treatment, make sure to pursue it right away. Fill out a claim form as soon as you are able to do so. Your employer is required to provide you with this form within one working day of your injury or illness, but if they don’t, you can find it here.
Q: What resources are available to me during the claims process?
A: At the Law Offices of Andrew B. Shin, we are always available to assist you with the claims process. Aside from our attorneys, however, you can contact your local Information and Assistance (I&A) Unit. I&A officers are a valuable resource and their services are absolutely free. While they cannot act on your behalf as we can, they will provide you with excellent information and explanations of your rights and responsibilities as an injured worker.
Feel free to attend a free seminar or schedule a one-on-one appointment with the I&A Unit before coming into our office for a free consultation.
Q: How can I receive medical care benefits?
A: Doctors in California are required to comply with an evidence-based medical treatment requirement in all workers’ compensation cases. Any medical provider who treats you during this time must follow strict guidelines, which are laid out in California’s medical treatment utilization schedule (MTUS). As long as your medical care adheres to the MTUS, it should be authorized within one working day of your claim and available for up to $10,000 worth of care while your claim is being investigated.
In most cases, you can continue receiving treatment for as long as it’s medically necessary. Chiropractic visits, physical therapy visits, and occupational therapy visits are limited to 24 each unless your claims administrator decides otherwise, or you are recovering from a recent surgery.
Q: How do temporary disability benefits work?
A: You can start receiving temporary disability payments when your doctor determines you cannot complete your usual work for more than 3 days, or when you get hospitalized overnight. Until you return to work, you are eligible to receive 2/3 of your pre-tax wages each week. Unless you received severe burns or developed chronic lung disease, your payments will likely be limited to a period of 104 weeks.
Your temporary disability benefits are not taxable and must be carefully regulated by your claims administer.
If you face any problems, you can reach out to our firm or your local I&A officer.
Q: What is the process for claiming permanent disability benefits?
A: If your doctor decides you will not heal from your injuries, your condition will be evaluated by multiple professionals. If all of them come to an agreement on your disability, your benefits will be calculated by the percentage of your disability and other factors, including your date of injury and the wages you earned before you were injured. Typically, permanent disability benefits pick up where temporary disability benefits leave off.
If you wish, you may be able to resolve your claim with a lump sum or settlement, but we don’t advise doing this without talking to an attorney.
Q: What are supplemental job displacement benefits?
A: If your injury prevents you from returning to your old job and leaves you with a partial disability, and your employer does not offer modified or alternative work, you may be eligible for supplemental job displacement benefits. These benefits are typically presented in a $4,000-$10,000 voucher, which you can use for educational and skill-building purposes at accredited institutions. You may also use up to 10% of the voucher for vocational counseling.
For more about supplemental job displacement benefits, and what you can do with them, click here.
Q: How do death benefits work?
A: If an employee dies from a work-related injury or illness, their employer has a responsibility to cover their burial expenses and compensate their dependents. The amount of money a deceased worker’s family will receive is determined by how many dependents the employee had.
You can view the Department of Industrial Relations’ chart here.
If you have additional questions, please view the official FAQ from California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation, visit your local I&A Unit, or contact us at (408) 709-7317.
If you have any more questions about the types of workers’ compensation benefits, our San Jose workers’ comp lawyer can provide the answers. We can investigate your accident and determine all of your legal options in order to get the results you desire.
Contact us and request a free consultation today.