In the state of California, employees that have been injured while working or have suffered from work-related illnesses are entitled to certain financial benefits.
California law requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees in the event of an accident or injury. These benefits help injury victims with their medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial burdens from the incident.
When you find yourself injured in the workplace and unable to return to your job, then you need to know how long you can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Each case is different, but here are some of the things to keep in mind when determining how long you’ll be able to receive workers’ comp.
Am I Eligible For California Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
The first thing you need to do is determine whether you are eligible for workers’ comp benefits. Once you’ve been injured at work, you need to report the accident immediately.
Many companies and businesses have procedures in place for reporting workplace accidents. This is likely outlined in your employee manual. If you’re unsure of how to report the accident, speak with a manager or your supervisor.
Seek medical attention immediately for your injuries. If possible, go to a physician in-network for your employer’s workers’ comp insurance.
Once you’ve gotten medical assistance and reported the incident, your employer will provide you with a form to fill out to file a workers’ compensation claim. This form should be provided to you within 24 hours of you reporting the injury.
At this point, the insurance company will determine whether or not to accept your claim. If the claim is not denied within ninety days of filing, then the state of California assumes that you are entitled to the benefits.
If you are unsure if your injury is eligible for a compensation claim, then contact a seasoned workers’ comp lawyer in the Bay Area. A good attorney will be able to assess your case and determine your eligibility as well as assist you with filling out all of the appropriate paperwork.
What Injuries Qualify For Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Injuries that occur in the workplace vary. This is partly due to the diversity in occupational industries in the state of California.
Whether you work in an office setting, a factory, a vineyard, a ranch, a warehouse, a hospital, a hotel, a school, or even a gym, you can receive workers’ comp benefits when you’re hurt on the job.
Here are just a few of the injuries that can qualify for workers’ compensation payments:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Hearing loss
- Stress-related injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Occupational illnesses
Keep in mind that these are not all of the injuries that qualify. Injuries not related to work or ones that occur at a different place of employment are not eligible for benefits.
How Long Do I Have To File For Workers’ Compensation In California?
In this state, you must meet certain deadlines to qualify for workers’ comp. You must report the injury or illness to your employer within 30 days of the incident. In addition to filing your claim timely, you have to fill out a claim form within a year of the accident.
The clock starts ticking on your injury benefits from the time the injury happens. This is why it’s so important to act quickly when you’ve been hurt at work to ensure the best possible outcome.
Can I Still Get Workers’ Comp Payments In CA If I’m Able To Work?
When injured employees go back to work before the doctor has cleared them to do so, they can forfeit their rights to disability payments. Even if they return to work with doctor given limitations or restrictions, such as not being able to lift more than a certain amount of weight, the payments can end.
It’s important to consider whether you are ready to go back to work and what your physician recommends before returning. If you’re ready to go back to work and your employer complies with your restrictions, then the compensation insurance company will not have to pay temporary disability benefits anymore.
How Long Can I Receive Temporary Disability Benefits In CA?
Each individual case is different. Some people will collect disability benefits for days and others will collect for months. In most cases, temporary disability benefits in California continue until one of the events below occurs:
- The injured employee returns to work in some capacity
- A physician determines the injured employee is safe to return to work in some capacity
- A physician determines the worker’s condition will have no more improvement or is considered stable
- The worker received temporary disability benefits for 104 weeks, the maximum allowable period in California
If your injury requires more than 104 weeks of recovery time or it appears that you may never be able to return to work, then it’s possible that you could be eligible for permanent disability benefits. Speak with a skilled lawyer to find out if you qualify.
What Should I Do If I’m Being Pressured To Come Back To Work After My Injury?
When you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, then you need time to heal properly. Sometimes, employers pressure their employees to get back to work before they should.
However, you should know that you are protected in these cases and you can still receive benefits payments while you are in the healing process before you return to work. If you were to return to work too soon, then your temporary disability benefits could be stopped.
Your employer should never push you into returning to work before you’re recovered. In these instances, it helps to have a seasoned San Rafael workers’ comp attorney by your side to defend your rights.
Speak With A Workers’ Comp Law Firm To Learn More
When you’ve been harmed at work, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact a seasoned workers’ comp lawyer to find out how long you could get benefits for your claim and to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome.