Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Comp Claims in California
From their offices in Encino, the Law Offices of Sef Krell represents injured employees in workers’ compensation claims in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California. The following frequently asked questions provide some basic information about workers’ compensation claims. To learn more about your rights and responsibilities under California workers’ comp law, please contact us today for a free consultation.
What exactly is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation is the oldest social insurance program in the U.S., providing compensation for workers who have been injured on the job. California adopted the workers’ compensation program in the 1910s. It is a no-fault system, which means that employees injured at work do not need to prove that another person caused their injury in order to receive benefits. Also, an employee is entitled to receive benefits even if he or she unintentionally caused the accident that led to his or her injury.
What if my employer does not have workers’ comp insurance?
All employers in California are required by law to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or self-insure against possible injuries. Failure to insure or self-insure is a criminal offense. If your employer does not have adequate coverage and you have been injured or become ill or disabled because of work, your employer is still responsible for paying all bills related to your injury or medical condition. If your employer is illegally uninsured, you can file a civil suit against your employer as well as a workers’ compensation claim.
What benefits am I entitled to under workers’ comp?
California law requires employers to pay for workers’ compensation benefits if you get hurt or become ill or disabled because of work. Workers’ compensation insurance provides for these basic benefits:
- Medical care
- Temporary disability benefits
- Permanent disability benefits
- Supplemental job displacement benefits or vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits
For further information about these benefits, please see our workers’ compensation overview page.
I’ve been injured on the job. What should I do?
Immediately notify your employer or supervisor. If your injury or illness developed gradually, such as hearing loss or carpal tunnel syndrome, report the injury or illness as soon as you discover that it is work-related. If your injury is a medical emergency, go to an emergency room. Your employer may tell you where to go for treatment if your employer is part of a medical provider network (MPN) set up by your employer’s insurance company. If your employer is in an MPN, doctors in the network will administer your treatment unless you were eligible to pre-designate your personal doctor, and did so before your injury occurred. Make sure you inform the healthcare provider who treats you that your injury is work-related.
After you report your injury to your employer and receive any necessary emergency medical treatment, you should fill out a claim form, which is called a DWC Form 1, and give it to your employer. Your employer must give you this form or mail it to you within one working day after learning of your injury or illness.
Can I be fired for filing a workers’ comp claim?
California law makes it illegal for your employer to fire or punish you for filing a workers’ compensation claim if you believe that your injury, illness, or disability was caused by your work. Your employer also cannot fire or punish your co-workers in retaliation for testifying in support of your case.
Can I file a claim if I am paid in cash, or don’t have legal immigration status?
Under California law, all workers injured on the job, including undocumented workers and workers paid “under the table,” are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you do not have immigration papers, you may only receive benefits to cover the cost of medical treatment and, in some cases, lost wages, but not job retraining benefits. We have experience assisting all workers in receiving the full benefits to which they are entitled under the law. Contact the Law Offices of Sef Krell today for a free consultation.