Understanding Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Benefits
If you sustain an on-the-job injury, are involved in a workplace accident and/or discover that an illness or ailment stems from a work-related task or workplace environment, you must report your injury to your employer or supervisor as soon as possible. Prompt reporting helps avoid problems and delays in receiving benefits and is often the first step to building a successful benefits claim. If you fail to report your injury or ailment within 30 days of the incident or discovery, you may jeopardize your ability to receive maximum workers’ compensation benefits.
Six basic benefits provided by an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance include:
1. Medical care
Medical care must be provided to help you recover from an injury or illness caused by work. Doctor visits, hospital services, physical therapy, lab tests, X-rays, and MRIs are just a few of the many medically necessary services that you are entitled to in order to treat your injury.
2. Temporary Disability Benefits
If your injury prevents you from working, you may receive up to two-thirds of your pre-injury wages while you are out on sick leave. Temporary disability stops when you return to work, the doctor releases you to work, or the doctor indicates that you’ve reached maximum recovery. If benefits are delayed, denied, or stopped, you may file a claim with the State of California Economic Development Department to collect state disability.
3. Permanent Disability Benefits
If you are permanently and totally disabled to the extent that you cannot perform any job at all, you may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits (in addition to Social Security disability benefits). If you’re able to return to work but have a permanent disability, you may be entitled to a settlement or payment for your permanent partial disability.
4. Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
If your injury occurred in 2004 or later, these vouchers help pay for retraining or skill enhancement if you do not completely recover and do not return to work for your employer.
5. Vocational Rehabilitation
If your injury occurred before 2004, vocational rehabilitation benefits cover job placement counseling and possibly retraining if you’re unable to return to your previous job and your employer doesn’t offer alternative work duties.
6. Death Benefits
If you die, your spouse, children, or other dependents may receive death benefits. The amount of the payment is based on the number of dependents. Temporary disability benefits are paid every two weeks. In addition, workers’ compensation provides a burial allowance.