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Workers Compensation

What is Worker’s Compensation

Worker’s Compensation covers work-related injuries that occur due to an accident or physical damage caused by repeated exposure to an unhealthy environment.  By California law, your employer is required to pay for workers’ compensation benefits.

Accidental and Exposure Injuries

Some examples for accidental injuries on the job:

  • Crushing your hand in machinery
  • Hurting your back during a fall
  • Injured during a crime while at work
  • Chemical burns caused by an exploding pipe

Another type of injury can be caused by repeated exposure to an unhealthy environment, loud noise or repetitive motion.

Examples for repeated exposure injuries:

  • A cashier who develops Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in her wrist from doing the same motion repeatedly
  • Hearing loss due to constant loud noise in a factory

Worker’s Compensation provides valuable help and benefits if you are injured on the job.

It provides aid with the cost of medical bills, physical therapy, visiting nurses and medical supplies.  You may also be entitled to non-medical assistance from a Home Care Agency to help with daily chores and hygiene while you’re recovering.  Caregivers can assist with showering, after surgery care, housecleaning, transportation and other daily chores.

For example:

Scenario 1:

A fall can cause spinal damage, requiring surgery.  You may not be capable of showering or dressing yourself.  You could even be confined to a wheelchair for a time.  Worker’s Comp would help cover the cost of the wheelchair and other necessary supplies, medical bills, physical therapy and visiting nurses.

Ask if your benefits include non-medical home care.  If they do, you can also have help from a caregiver to take care of errands, meal preparation, light house cleaning, laundry and assist with your personal hygiene.

Scenario 2:

If you suffer a crush injury to an arm, you’ll be facing several surgeries, limited mobility and extreme pain.  With Worker’s Comp, you’re sure to get the necessary medical care, physical therapy and assist with the cost of medical bills.  You may also be eligible for home care services from an experienced caregiver to help speed your recovery.

Scenario 3:

If you suffer a broken arm and head trauma during a robbery while on the job, Worker’s Comp will help with the cost of your recovery.  Benefits may also include a caregiver to help you around the house, errands, personal care and emotional support.

What Do I Do if I’m Injured On the Job?

Injuries must be reported to your employer immediately. If your injury or illness developed over time, like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, report it as soon as you have a doctor’s appointment due to the injury or determine it was caused by your job.

Failure to report the injury promptly can cause delays in receiving benefits, including needed medical care.

You could also lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you don’t report it in a timely manner.  Your employer must learn about your injury within 30 days in order to fully investigate the injury, review the situation and your claim and how you were injured.

Get Emergency Treatment

Do not refuse needed medical help!  Your employer can’t tell you not to get emergency treatment but he can instruct you where to go for treatment.

At the emergency room or doctor’s office, tell the medical personnel who treats you that your injury or illness is job-related.

Fill Out The Claim Form (DWC 1)

Your employer is required to provide you with a claim form within one working day after being notified about your injury or illness.  You can also download it from the forms page of the DWC website.

Turning in the completed form to your employer starts the Worker’s Compensation process.  Once the form is turned in, you can begin finding the benefits you may qualify for under state law.

Benefits may include, but are not limited to:

  • A presumption that your injury or illness was caused by work if your claim is not accepted or denied within 90 days of giving the completed claim form to your employer
  • Up to $10,000 in treatment under medical treatment guidelines while the claims administrator considers your claim
  • An increase in your disability payments if they’re late
  • A way to resolve any disagreements between you and the claims administrator over whether your injury or illness happened on the job, the medical treatment you receive and whether you will receive permanent disability benefits.

For more information, click here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/InjuredWorker.htm

What Benefits Am I Entitled To?

There are five basic benefits provided by Workers’ comp insurance:

  • Medical care:  This is paid by your employer to help you recover from an injury or illness caused by work
  • Temporary disability benefits:  You receive payments if you lose wages because your injury prevents you from doing your usual job while recovering.  This is a percentage of your earnings.
  • Permanent disability benefits:  If you don’t recover completely, you’ll receive disability payments.
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits (if your date of injury is in 2004 or later):  If you don’t recover completely and don’t return to work for your employer, you may be issued Vouchers to help pay for retraining or skill enhancement to get another job.
  • Death benefitsIf you die from a job injury or illness, payments will be made to your spouse, children or other dependents.

What If I Have Other Questions?

For free information on how to help yourself, contact your local I&A officers (Information and Assistance Officers).

Local DWC district offices offer free seminars for injured workers.  These seminars provide full information about workers’ comp benefits and your rights and responsibilities. You can also mak an appointment with an I&A officer and arrange a private consultation.

Other Resources

On the Department of Worker’s Compensation’s website you can find answers to frequently asked questions about your benefits on the I&A page.  You can also review the fact sheets and guides for injured workers by following the link.

Are Independent Contractors Covered Under Worker’s Compensation?

No

My Visiting Nurse Can’t Help with Daily Chores

Visiting nurses are arranged by your doctor and do a lot to help you recover from injury or surgery.  But they can only assist with wound care, bathing, monitoring your healing process and other minor medical issues.  There may be other tasks you need help with that she isn’t able to perform.

She won’t be able to help with house cleaning, laundry, preparing meals, shopping or drive you to doctor’s appointments.  She has a lot of patients to visit per day and has very limited time.

If you’re eligible for Non-Medical Home Care Services, an approved agency can arrange caregivers, personal care assistants, nurse aides or home health aides to help with everyday tasks (called Activities of Daily Living or ADLs) your pain and injuries prevent you from doing.

Before receiving help from a Home Care Agency, you must verify it’s covered in your benefits.

We have been helping injured and elderly people or more than 27 years San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County and Orange County.  A-1 Home Care Agency is State licensed, bonded and insured with care providers experienced in After Surgery Care.

Ask your Worker’s Comp lawyer or representative if you can use our home care services during your recovery.