California workers have certain rights after an injury or illness caused by job duties. They also have responsibilities about reporting the incident and filing the correct paperwork.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury at work or developed a disease caused by workplace exposure, make sure you understand your rights in a California workers’ compensation case.
The role of fault
California uses a no-fault system for worker’s compensation. That means that even if the employee has a role in the accident that causes the injury, he or she can still seek compensation from the employer’s insurance policy. Similarly, the policy will pay even when the employer caused the accident in question.
Types of compensation
Injured workers have the right to receive certain benefits under California law. These include:
- Coverage for the cost of medical treatments, surgeries, prescription drugs and other health care costs
- Reimbursement for travel for health care treatments
- Temporary disability payments equal to two-thirds the person’s average weekly wage for up to two years
- Permanent disability payments for up to four years
- Life pension payments for significant disability
- Vocational retraining benefit of up to $6,000
Access to medical care
The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will pay the patient’s medical bills directly for a work-related injury or illness. California law prohibits health care providers from billing an injured worker directly for these services.
A California employee can predesignate a health care provider before experiencing a workplace illness or injury. If an injury occurs, he or she can go directly to this provider of choice.
When the worker has not done so, he or she can choose a doctor from the medical provider network established by the workers’ compensation policy. In the absence of an MPN, the claims administrator will designate a doctor or hospital for the initial visit.
The employer may not retaliate against an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim. If this occurs, the worker may have legal recourse.