California Workers' Compensation Benefits



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California Workers Compensation Benefits Overview

Trying to figure out what to do after you have been hurt on the job is no easy task. You need to figure out what you are going to do to pay your bills and provide for yourself and your loved ones. All of that is compounded by trying to take care of your own health as you recover. In California, you have the right to apply for workers’ compensation benefits based on the severity of your injury. They cover everything from lost wages to medical care and rehabilitation, and include some things people do not always associate with workers’ compensation insurance.

Workers' Comp Benefits Available in California

There are a number of ways that submitting a claim can help you with your current condition and smooth the transition back to your existing job or into a new one. This is especially true in our state because of the significant worker protection laws that have been passed since the 1970s. If you are eligible, you may receive California workers’ compensation benefits that include:

  1. Medical care for the relief or cure of your illness or injury that you suffered on the job
  2. Temporary payments of a portion of your salary for up to two years while you are unable to work due to your injury
  3. Permanent disability payments if you are unable to work or provide for yourself or loved one’s due to the incident
  4. Training reimbursement of up to several thousand dollars for developing the skills needed for a new career if you are unable to continue in your old one.

If you are filing on behalf of a loved one who lost their lives as a result of a workplace injury or illness, you may also receive distinct payments as part of the California workers compensation benefits package. Even if the insurer does not approve your claim, you are still eligible for up to $10,000 in coverage for any medical bills that you have.

When to Apply for Workers' Compensation Benefits in California

The clock starts ticking  on being able to obtain California workers’ compensation benefits as soon as you become injured or ill. You need to notify your employer within 30 days of you discovering the injury, and the more time that takes place, the more likely it is that the insurance company will try to blame your medical condition on some other set of circumstances.

The other reason that it is crucial to begin the application process sooner rather than later is that while you are no longer receiving a salary, the insurance company your employer uses has up to 90 days to review your claims. That’s the case if they approve payments; if they don’t you have to wait for the claims denial process to finish which could add even more time to when you actually start receiving the help that you need to make rent or cover other costs.

Penalties and Claim Denial

An insurance company does not want to pay out benefits that an examiner feels are unwarranted; they make their money based on an estimate of a large number of people being insured but relatively few needing actual care and benefits. In spite of that, the law requires medical examiners to investigate claims for California workers’ compensation benefits and provide an adequate explanation of their findings.

If you have a denied claim, you may still be eligible for benefits based on an error in how your case was handled or based on other factors. It may later turn out that the denial was wrongful. In that case, you might be able to obtain up to $10,000 in penalties and an increase in the benefits owed during the period of denial.

When to Contact a Lawyer

Workers’ compensation benefits can go a long way to ensuring that you can recover from illness or injury without having to worry about paying bills or worrying about keeping your job. If you have any questions about whether you are eligible to receive or are getting a fair shake from an insurance company, you should consider working with a California worker’s compensation lawyer with experience handling these types of claims.