According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American workers reported over 2 million workplace injuries and illnesses in 2021.
If you or a loved one find yourselves in a situation where you need to file a workers’ compensation claim, there are some things you should know.
1. Timely reporting
Prompt reporting of a workplace injury matters. California law requires injured workers to notify their employer within 30 days of the incident. Failing to do so may jeopardize your ability to receive benefits.
It is advisable to report the injury as soon as possible, even if it initially seems minor. This ensures a clear record of the incident and helps establish the connection between your injury and your work.
2. Medical treatment
If you sustain a work-related injury, your employer must provide medical treatment. This includes doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgeries and medication necessary for your recovery. You have the right to choose your treating physician, but there are specific guidelines to follow. You must inform your employer promptly about your chosen healthcare provider to ensure coverage.
3. Temporary disability benefits
In the event that your injury prevents you from working while you recover, you may qualify for temporary disability benefits.
These benefits provide partial wage replacement, typically at two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a specified limit. However, it is important to note that there is a waiting period before these benefits kick in.
4. Permanent disability evaluations
If your injury results in a permanent disability, you may receive additional benefits. A qualified medical evaluator will assess your condition and determine the level of permanent impairment. This evaluation, along with other factors such as your age and occupation, will influence the amount of benefits you receive. It is important to provide accurate information and fully cooperate during this process.
Navigating the workers’ compensation system is not easy, but by arming yourself with this knowledge, you can take the necessary steps to secure the support you need during your recovery.