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What to know about workers' compensation in California

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When you go to work each day, you expect that your employer has your best interest in mind. While this is often the case, if you're injured in the course of your employment, things can become complicated. Most employers are required to carry worker's compensation insurance by law, which provides certain benefits to injured workers. However, sometimes those benefits aren't as simple to access as they should be.

What is worker's compensation?

In the state of California, any employer that has one or more employees is required by law to have worker's compensation insurance. This is a particular type of coverage that provides benefits to employees if they are hurt, become sick, or even die from a workplace injury or exposure.

Types of benefits for injured workers

Worker's compensation provides several types of valuable benefits to injured workers and their families. If you have a work-related injury, you may be able to get coverage for such things as:

  • Medical care. Any medical expenses, including physician's visits, testing, physical therapy, surgery, and medication, would be paid for by worker's compensation coverage.
  • Temporary disability benefits. If you are unable to work for a certain period of time, or can only work part-time, worker's compensation will replace a portion of your lost wages.
  • Permanent disability benefits. If your injury prevents you from ever completely recovering, you will receive compensation.
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits. If you were injured in 2004 or later and are unable to return to your regular profession because of your injuries, worker's compensation may help pay for a retraining program or assist in finding you another job.
  • Death benefits. If the injury or work-related illness causes death, worker's compensation will make payments to your spouse or other beneficiary.

What to do if you've been injured on the job

If you've been injured or are suffering from a work-related illness, the first that you should do is report your injury to your employer. It's important that you report an injury as soon as possible.

If you need medical attention, be sure to get this right away. If it's non-emergency care, go to the provider that your employer designates and tell them that the injury is work-related. You'll also want to make sure that you fill out a DWC 1 claim form to open your worker's compensation case.

Working with a workers' compensation attorney can make sure your rights are protected and you get the care you need after an accident.

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