If you or somebody you care about has been injured in the workplace, then you should be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and possibly temporary or permanent disability benefits.
The California workers’ compensation system operates as a type of “no-fault” insurance, which means that an injured worker should be able to receive compensation regardless of who caused the incident. However, many people ask us how long it takes a workers’ compensation claim to pay a person their benefits. The answer to this question will vary depending on the factors related to each particular case.
Medical benefits usually come quickly
The single most important thing you need to be aware of immediately following a workplace injury or illness is medical care. In some cases, this means emergency care as soon as the injury or illness occurs. However, some workplace injuries or illnesses occur over longer periods of time (repetitive motion injuries, occupational illnesses, etc.). In these cases, it is still crucial for a person to seek medical care as soon as they know something is wrong.
The California workers’ compensation system is designed to pay for all of your medical bills related to the injury or illness, so long as the medical expenses are authorized. This includes immediate payment of emergency and ongoing medical care. However, injured workers may have to select a doctor from within the medical provider network of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Lost wages should begin fairly soon
Temporary disability benefits are also available through the California workers’ compensation system if an employee is unable to work for a period of time. In these cases, temporary disability will pay two-thirds of the injured employee’s average weekly wage (up to a maximum weekly amount).
These payments will generally begin fairly quickly. So long as the injury is covered under the workers’ compensation claim, temporary disability benefits will begin within 14 days.
If a workplace injury or illness permanently impairs the employee, either partially or totally, they will be eligible for permanent disability benefits. The total amount of compensation available in these situations will be based on the percentage of the person’s impairment as a result of the work-related injury.
What happens if there are any disputes?
There are times when employers or workers’ compensation carriers delay or deny claims. There are various reasons why a workers’ comp claim may be denied, including if the employer or the insurance carrier believes that:
- There is insufficient evidence of the injury occurring due to job-related tasks
- The injury was due to another job
- You do not need medical care
- You were allegedly impaired by alcohol or drugs when the incident occurred
- You are able to return to work
However, just because an employer or workers’ compensation carrier denies a claim does not mean that they are right. There are various steps that injured workers can take in these situations to appeal their claim. If you or somebody you care about has been injured at work but are having trouble securing coverage for your medical bills or lost wages, please seek assistance from an Orange workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.