In 2014, 334 people lost their lives due to a workplace accident in California. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the most common causes of those incidents included transportation accidents, slips or falls, and violence by other people or animals.
Many more people in California suffered a workplace injury that left them unable to work for a certain period of time. It is important for employees to understand the workers’ compensation benefits available to them, including wage replacement.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
The California Workers’ Compensation Institute reports that just about anyone who works in the state is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits following an injury that is related to employment. According to the law, the following are the three types of benefits available:
Temporary or permanent disability: This is available in the event the worker passes away, misses a certain amount of work or cannot return to work at all.
Coverage of medical care: This includes bills, prescriptions and even expenses associated with having to travel for treatment.
Supplemental job displacement: Someone whose injury requires him or her to find another job could qualify for these vouchers to education or training.
In order to obtain benefits, the injured worker must report the injury to the employer as soon as possible and then complete a claim.
TEMPORARY DISABILITY PAYMENTS
According to the CWCI, people who only miss three days of work may not qualify for wage replacement benefits. Temporary disability payments will kick in once a physician reports that the worker will be unable to return to his or her job for more than three days, or if the person has to be hospitalized overnight.
The amount of money someone may receive in temporary disability is two-thirds of the regular wages, which must fall between $165.49 and $1,103.29 per week. These minimum and maximum amounts are subject to change every year. No temporary disability payments can be made after 104 weeks for most injuries, though California allows up to 240 weeks for serious incidents.
PERMANENT DISABILITY PAYMENTS
Permanent disability benefits are available to workers who have recovered to the fullest extent possible and whose doctors determine that the injuries are permanent. There are different levels of permanent disability, which will determine how much the worker will receive. For injuries occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2013, a worker will not be compensated for future earning capacity.
If someone suffers a fatal workplace injury, death benefit payments and a burial allowance may be available to the worker’s dependents. The amount paid depends on the date of the injury and how many dependents the person had.
When an injured worker in California disagrees with a physician’s determination of his or her condition, the law allows for an appeal. Anyone who has questions about any workers’ compensation issues should consult with an attorney.