Regardless of the industry in which you work, employers in California must comply with the safety standards set out by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Your employer must provide a safe work environment that is free of known safety hazards. The safety program must include avenues by which reported safety hazards receive prompt attention. Furthermore, the plan must include adequate safety training.
The state-regulated workers’ compensation insurance system will cover your workplace injury-related expenses. Benefits will apply for single events that cause injuries or progressive injuries that develop over time from repeated exposure. However, if you report an injury after learning about your termination, you might not be eligible for benefits. Also, workers’ compensation does not cover all stress-related workplace injuries.
What benefits could you receive after a work-related injury?
- Medical bills: Your employer must pay all your medical bills related to the injury.
- Expenses covered: The medical bills include the costs of doctor consultations, medicines, tests, therapy or other treatment services and medical equipment.
- Travel costs: Included in your employer’s part of the compensation is reasonable travel costs for treatment.
- Temporary Disability Benefits: These benefits cover any period after the injury and during recovery, when you are unable to do your regular job.
- Permanent Disability Benefits: If your injury or illness causes a permanent physical or mental disability, measurable by a doctor.
- Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit: This benefit comes in the form of a voucher to pay for skill enhancement or retraining to enable you to obtain alternative employment if your employer cannot accommodate your disability.
- Death Benefits: These benefits are for your surviving family members, like your spouse and children, if you suffer fatal work-related injuries or illness.
Steps to take if you are injured or become ill due to work
The first thing to do is to seek the necessary medical care if your condition needs emergency treatment. Then, report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. This can set the wheels rolling for a workers’ compensation benefits claim. If you fail to report it within 30 days, you might not be eligible for benefits.
Furthermore, if your injury or an illness is a gradual condition caused by repeated exposure, you should report it as soon as it becomes evident. For example, hearing loss caused by continuous exposure to excessive noise. Leaving it too long may jeopardize your chances to receive comprehensive California workers’ compensation benefits.