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What is Workers’ Compensation, and How Does it Work?

Injured employee visiting lawyer for advice on insurance

Workplace injuries happen every day, even when a workplace is relatively safe. Opportunities for injury abound on construction sites or at manufacturing plants, but they also exist in office settings where workers can suffer repetitive stress injuries, trip-and-fall accidents, or chemical exposure injuries. No matter the type of employer, accident, or injury, when a worker gets hurt on the job, they are almost always entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Below, learn how California’s workers’ compensation system works, and contact a skilled Arcadia workers’ compensation lawyer if you’ve been hurt on the job in Los Angeles or the Inland Empire.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that all California employers must carry. Most employers choose to purchase it from a private insurer, but some buy it from the State Compensation Insurance Fund. When a worker is hurt, it is the workers’ compensation insurer that pays the benefits owed to the worker. These benefits may take the form of covering the worker’s medical expenses, temporary wage replacement, permanent disability benefits, job displacement benefits, or benefits to a worker’s family after a wrongful death on the job. 

How does California workers’ compensation work?

The first critical step in a workers’ compensation claim is the worker reporting the injury to the employer. If an on-the-job injury isn’t reported within 30 days of the incident or discovery of the injury, the worker could lose the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The employer must provide a workers’ compensation claim form to the injured worker within a day of the injury. The employer must then forward the completed form to their workers’ compensation insurer within one day of receiving the completed form.

While the insurance administrator is reviewing the worker’s claim for benefits, the employer must authorize up to $10,000 for the costs of medical treatment within one day of the workplace injury. After the insurer approves the employee’s claim, the insurer will then cover the worker’s medical expenses and pay any lost wage benefits the worker is entitled to receive.

Some workers agree to accept a settlement of their workers’ compensation claims rather than collect ongoing payments related to the claim. Workers who sign a compromise and release are agreeing to take one lump sum that covers all past and future losses related to their injury. In exchange, they agree not to file any additional claims for benefits based on that original injury. Many workers find it helpful to have a skilled California workers’ compensation attorney on their side when negotiating a compromise and release, allowing them to rest assured that their rights and interests are well-represented.

If you’ve been hurt on the job in Southern California and need help getting the benefits you deserve for your injuries, contact the seasoned and professional Arcadia workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Dulio R. Chavez II and Associates for a free consultation at 626-357-3303.

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