State workers’ compensation programs cover the cost of work-related injury and illness regardless of fault. An injured person can file a claim for lost wages and medical expenses after a work injury in California.
Many employees do not file for benefits because of misunderstandings about workers’ compensation. Review the facts behind the most common myths.
Choosing a doctor
Injured individuals often believe they must see a doctor chosen by their employer to receive workers’ comp benefits. In fact, California workers who have health insurance can predesignate a health care provider to see if they experience a work injury or illness. Otherwise, they must see the doctor specified by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy.
Some workers do not file a claim after an injury because they fear losing their jobs. California workers actually have protection from this situation through state law. They can sue for discrimination if the company does not allow them to return to the job after a workers’ compensation claim.
Contrary to popular belief, California allows workers to collect workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault. With the medical confirmation of a work injury, an employee can recoup his or her medical expenses, travel expenses to medical appointments, temporary or permanent disability if needed, and educational costs of up to $6,000 for necessary retraining.
Employees should seek immediate medical attention after a work injury. Generally, they have 30 days in California to give notice about this type of injury in writing. They can also appeal if they receive a denial for benefits.