Workers who get injured in the workplace are entitled to certain benefits under the law. Typically, these workers have the right to full medical care by health care providers of their choice. For those who acquire permanent or temporary disability; they can receive indemnity benefits to compensate for the lost income.
In California, there are six basic types of benefits available under the workers’ compensation law. These benefits depend on the nature, date and severity of the worker’s injury. They are:
- medical care
- temporary disability benefits
- permanent disability benefits
- supplemental job displacement benefits
- vocational rehabilitation services
- death benefits
When you get injured in the workplace, first of all, you need to notify your employer in order to avail of the worker’s compensation benefits. Here’s what you must do:
- Inform your employer that you were injured while working
- Specify the exact date of the injury in the letter
- Mention the location of injury
There are time limits set for filing a workers’ compensation claim. More importantly, you must notify your employer within 120 days of the injury or illness.
Most employers finance their liability for workers’ compensation benefits through the following methods:
- Self-Insurance – Most large and stable companies and government agencies are self-insured for workers’ compensation. To become self-insured, employers must obtain a certificate from the Department of Industrial Relations.
- Private Insurance – In California, for example, employers may purchase insurance from any of the 300 private insurance companies which are licensed by the Department of Insurance.
- State Insurance – Employers may also purchase insurance from the State Compensation Insurance Fund, which is a state operated entity tasked mainly to transact workers’ compensation insurance on a non-profit basis.
If your workers compensation claim is denied, you are entitled to file a claim petition with the Department of Labor and Industry. Your claim will be assigned to a workers compensation judge who will conduct a hearing to receive testimony and medical evidence to substantiate your claim. Based on the information presented at the hearing, the judge can determine whether or not a worker is eligible to receive compensation benefits.
In seeking medical treatment for your work-related injury, you must find out if your employer has a list of physicians or health care providers that you must consult with. As a rule, employers are required a list of these health provider, which must be posted in your work place.
An injured worker is often required to visit one of the health providers for initial treatment. The next treatment should continue for another 90 days.
If your employer’s health care provider advised you to undergo surgery, you are entitled to a second opinion which will be paid for by your employer or his insurer. In all cases, you are required to notify your employer of the provider you have selected.
All persons injured at work should immediately consult with an experienced attorney. A worker’s compensation attorney can definitely help you obtain claim for your work –related injuries