No one goes to work expecting to end up injured. However, workplace injuries and illnesses are a real risk for Californian workers. That’s why workers’ compensation exists — to protect those who work for a living from ending up indigent, homeless and without medical care due to a work-related injury. Many people only have a very basic understanding about workers’ compensation insurance until they discover that they need its coverage.
People often don’t understand how workers’ compensation functions. Worse yet, they may not know what benefits exist in the program. Not knowing can result in failing to receive the benefits you deserve for your work injury. Educating yourself about workers’ compensation can help you stand up for your rights.
California workers’ compensation can educate workers
One of the most important early resources for injured or sickened workers is the ability to attend a free presentation on workers’ compensation benefits. Most cities hold these informational workshops once a month. These workshops are put on by the state and help answer basic questions about benefits, claims and the rights of injured workers.
If you don’t understand your right to medical treatment at no cost to you, this workshop can be insightful. It will also cover how the state determines compensation amounts for short-term and long-term disability payments under workers’ compensation, in addition to addressing disagreements with how your claim is handled. They will even provide information about heading back to work after your recovery.
Medical benefits and wage replacement are the most important
For the severely injured workers, medical coverage from workers’ compensation is often the most critical benefit. Injured California workers receive full coverage for treatment related to workplace injuries. Unlike your standard medical insurance, which likely has a large deductible, co-insurance rates and co-payments due at each treatment, workers’ compensation medical coverage pays everything, with no liability to the worker.
Wage replacement is also an important benefit for those who can not return to work after an injury. For those who heal and return to work, temporary disability coverage provides income. Workers can receive up to two-thirds of their pre-tax wages, up to a maximum amount set by law. For those who cannot return to work, permanent disability coverage can provide ongoing income as well. Compensation levels will vary depending on the income and disability of the worker in question.
Connecting with the benefits you need is important
There are other workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled as well. Perhaps your injury does not result in a permanent disability, but it will preclude you from returning to the same line of work or position at your job. There are retraining benefits available to help workers find employment after a workplace injury.
There are also death benefits for the surviving family members of someone who dies as the result of a workplace injury or illness. Getting the benefits you need can protect you and your loved ones during the difficult time after a workplace accident.