Employers in California and other states are required by law to provide their employees with insurance to cover job-related injuries. If you have been injured on the job, you may be wondering what workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to receive. By understanding your rightful benefits, you can help ensure that you receive the compensation you need to help with your recovery.
First, workers who have been injured on the job or suffered a job-related illness are entitled to receive medical care to treat the condition. The types of treatment offered must adhere to certain guidelines as specified by a utilization schedule, and doctors are prohibited from billing a worker directly if the illness or injury is known to be work related. Also, an employee may choose his or her own doctor for treatment, provided the physician has been designated beforehand.
Other benefits an injured worker is entitled to are disability benefits. You may receive temporary disability benefits to provide for lost wages while you are recovering and not able to work. The amount you receive will be based on two-thirds of your gross wages and cannot exceed a certain weekly threshold. If you do not completely recover from your illness or injury, you may receive permanent disability benefits — even if you are able to return to work. Permanent disability benefits will be based on several factors and will usually begin after your temporary benefits have ended.
For those injured after Jan. 1, 2004, California also provides supplemental job displacement benefits (SJDB). This is essentially a voucher that pays for vocational education and training at approved state schools. Those who have not returned to work within 60 days of the end of their temporary benefits and employees who are not offered modified accommodations at their former workplaces may qualify for SJDB. Finally, death benefits are available to the spouses, children and other dependents of a worker who died as a result of a job-related accident or illness. These benefits are intended to help with end-of-life expenses and provide a source of income to the surviving family members.
Although workers’ compensation benefits are required by law, the process of obtaining those benefits can be challenging. Anyone suffering from a work-related injury or illness would need to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney. Such an attorney can help navigate the process to obtain all your rightful compensation.