California Workers Compensation
If you have been injured on the job in California, workers' compensation laws may entitle you to certain benefits. These benefits can include payment of medical bills, compensation while you're unable to work, vocational rehabilitation, permanent partial disability benefits, or total disability benefits. Your California employer's workers' compensation insurance is responsible for paying these benefits.
Who Is Covered by California Workers' Compensation Insurance?
In California, workers' compensation coverage begins on your first day of employment regardless of whether you are a part-time or full-time employee. You may still be eligible for California workers' compensation benefits even if you were an independent contractor or a cash employee.
What Types of Injuries Does California Workers' Compensation Cover?
Injuries typically covered by California workers' comp include:
- Traumatic physical injuries
- Repeated trauma injuries
- Mental injuries
- Occupational disease
What Types of California Workers' Compensation Benefits Can You Receive?
California workers' compensation laws can be complicated. A California workers' compensation attorney in your area can explain to you the application process and help you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.
Although your benefits may vary depending on what state or federal law applies, workers injured on the job--regardless of whether your employer was at fault--may be entitled to benefits that include:
- Medical care
- Temporary disability benefits designed to at least partially replace lost wages if you were unable to work for more than three days
- Permanent disability benefits designed to at least partially replace lost wages
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits
If you receive California workers' compensation following an injury, you cannot sue your California employer for additional compensation in connection with your injury. You may, however, be able to file a lawsuit against others involved in your injury. For example, if you were injured in an automobile accident while working and the other driver was at fault, you might be able to sue the other driver. Or if your injury was the result of a defective machine, you might be able to sue the machine manufacturer. A California workers' compensation lawyer can advise you of your legal options.
How Do You File for California Workers' Compensation Benefits?
If you're injured while at work or develop a job-related occupational disease in California, you should promptly seek medical treatment. Make sure to tell the doctor that your injury occurred on the job or in connection with your job.
Notify your employer of the injury or disease as soon as possible. In California, you'll also have to notify your employer of your work-related injury or disease in writing within 30 days.
Your California workers' compensation claim will be filed with the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers' Compensation.
Once you've sought medical treatment for your injury or disease, you should consider contacting a California workers' comp lawyer to help guide you through the process of applying for California workers' compensation.
Workers' Compensation for Federal Employees & Others
Federal government employees working in California, as well as California residents who worked on nuclear weapons, maritime workers, and coal miners would be covered under one of several federal workers' compensation programs.
- The Federal Employees' Compensation Act covers federal employees and postal workers for job-related injuries and diseases
- The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act covers U.S. Department of Energy employees, predecessor agencies, contractors, and subcontractors who are ill as a result of working with nuclear weapons
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act and related acts, including the Defense Base Act covers maritime workers
- The Black Lung Benefits Act provides compensation to miners totally disabled by black lung disease, as well as their survivors
Additional California Workers' Compensation Resources
The U.S. Department of Labor's Workers' Compensation information page for federal government employees