Many employees, particularly those in the unskilled labor force and the gig economy, don´t have a clear idea of their rights.  This is something that, in my opinion, should be addressed in order to guarantee their well-being and make sure their rights are protected, regardless of their immigration status. This article will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation for employees in the state of California.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation law is a system of rules in every state designed to pay the expenses of employees who are harmed while performing job-related duties.

When an employees is hurt while performing job-related duties he or she may be entitled to recover:

  • Lost wages in the form of temporary or partial disability,
  • Medical expenses,
  • Compensation for resulting permanent disability, and
  • Costs associated with rehabilitation and retraining.

Injured employees receive a certain portion of their wages while they are off work for the treatment of such injury or illness, depending on state rules.

States also establish their own rate of compensation when an employee loses a member, is permanently disabled or dies as a result of the work-related accident.

work safety procedures
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock. Description: Work safety procedures .

How can I avoid getting hurt on the job?

Employers are the main responsible for guaranteeing a save work environment, proper training and safety education to its employees.

In the state of California, the law requires from employers to have an injury and illness prevention program which includes worker training, workplace inspections, and procedures for correcting unsafe conditions promptly.

It’ of vital importance that all employees participate in their employer’s program and report unsafe conditions to your employer. In the rare occasion that the employer doesn’t respond or fix a situation that represents a potential hazard for the employees, you can call or report it online to the state agency that enforces health and safety laws in California, namely Cal/OSHA.- said Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney Mark Larson

Who pays for workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job.

Employers pay for this insurance, and shall not require the employee to contribute to the cost of compensation. Weekly cash benefits and medical care are paid by the employer’s insurance carrier, as directed by the Workers’ Compensation Board. The Workers’ Compensation Board is a state agency that processes the claims. If Board intervention is necessary, it will determine whether that insurer will reimburse for cash benefits and/or medical care, and the amounts payable.

Who is at fault in a workers’ compensation case?

In a workers’ compensation case, fault and/or negligence may play a huge role in benefits the injured worker will receive. However, a worker loses his/her right to workers’ compensation if the injury results solely from his or her intoxication from drugs or alcohol, or from the intent to injure him/herself or someone else.

How is my claim finally resolved?

A claim is paid if the employer or insurance carrier agrees that the injury or illness is work-related. If the employer or insurance carrier disputes the claim, no cash benefits are paid until the workers’ compensation law judge decides who is right.

If a worker is not receiving benefits because the employer or insurance carrier is arguing that the injury is not job-related, he or she may be eligible for disability benefits in the meantime.

If you can return to work but your injury prevents you from earning the same wages you once did, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation and retraining.  You may also return to work in light or alternate duty before you are fully healed.


Written By
Mark Larson
Mark Larson is a partner at Larson, Larson & Dauer, ALC. Mark's practice is primarily focused on workers' compensation, employment law and personal injury. Mark is from a family of attorneys and has grown up watching insurance companies repeatedly deny benefits to those that have been injured by their insured. This is how Mark began to develop a passion for the law and fighting against insurance companies. Mark Larson is a regular contributor on ListaLegal. You can contact him through his profile or website.

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