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The basics of California workers' compensation

California employers and employees both have certain rights and responsibilities related to work-related safety issues and injuries caused on or by the job. Both have obligations toward maintaining a safe working environment. However, when an employee is injured because of work, he or she is entitled to certain benefits under workers' compensation regardless of who is at fault.

Injured employees must report the injury to their supervisors as soon as either the injury occurs or it is first discovered. For example, if a worker develops a repetitive stress injury over the course of several months, that worker would not have a specific incident to prompt the notice to the employer. Rather, the employee would report the work-related injury as soon as he or she learns of the condition. To report the injury or illness, employees must complete the Workers' Compensation Claim Form promptly. Submission of the form to the employer initiates a case and aids in obtaining all applicable benefits guaranteed under state law.

Under workers' compensation insurance, injured workers are provided medical care to treat the injury. Additional benefits include temporary disability payments to cover lost wages during recovery and permanent disability benefits if the worker does not completely recover. Supplemental job displacement benefits for retraining are available if the worker is unable to return to work for his or her employer, and death benefit payments may be made to family members if the worker dies as a result of the injury or illness.

For assistance with navigating the workers' compensation process, injured employees can speak with the Information and Assistance Unit of the state's Division of Workers' Compensation . However, the I&A staff cannot provide legal guidance. Therefore, injured workers should consider speaking with an attorney for help in receiving all benefits due.

Source: State of California, "Answers to frequently asked questions about workers' compensation for employees", September 08, 2014

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