The way workers’ compensation payments work in Los Angeles is that your employer pays into the required workers’ compensation program, even if they only have one employee. There are some exclusions to this rule. For instance, if a company only works with independent contractors, it would not have to pay for workers’ compensation insurance. For most workers, this insurance is a viable option for receiving compensation after suffering an injury on the job.
The program covers work-related injuries. If your claim is approved, you could receive up to two-thirds of your pre-tax gross wages paid out every two weeks. The program could also offer you a lump-sum payment, which would require you to forfeit any additional workers’ compensation benefit payments in the future. This requirement depends on the terms of the settlement agreement that you accept. Before accepting any settlement offers, you might find it beneficial to have a workers’ compensation lawyer review it for fairness and determine if it will cover your essential needs.
Defining Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Criteria
California Labor Code (LAB) §3600 establishes the criteria for workers’ compensation claims. The system covers any injury that occurs while on the job when you did not intentionally injure yourself. The statute specifies that the injury:
- Occurred at work
- Resulted from your job duties
- Was not intentionally self-inflicted
- Was reported after the incident occurred
Other criteria might apply depending on the circumstances of your injury. For example, if frequent movements put a strain on your body and cause a condition to develop, the state workers’ compensation program could cover your injury. If you have any questions about what state law allows in terms of workers’ compensation program eligibility, you could address your concerns with your employer’s human resources department or a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Generally speaking, there are four different types of workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical benefits cover your associated medical expenses, including hospitalizations, surgeries, and medications.
- Disability benefits provide compensation based on how the injury impacts your ability to work. You could receive temporary or permanent disability benefits.
- Career support benefits can help you if you need to change careers because of your injuries. These can include job training and professional certification fees.
- Death benefits go to family members if a work-related incident kills a loved one. Although some limitations could apply, their spouse, children, or parents can file on their loved one’s behalf.
Statute of Limitations
LAB §5405 generally allows you one year from the date of injury to file workers’ compensation claims. However, you only have 30 days from the incident date to file a form with your employer notifying it of the injury. If you wait too long to file your workers’ compensation claim, the insurer could deny it on that basis.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is not as difficult as you might think. The process starts when you let your employer know about your work-related injury. There is a state-required form, as well as any forms that your employer may have to document injuries.
If you let your employer know about the injury and it doesn’t provide you the necessary forms to fill out, you can work with a workers’ compensation lawyer to complete the paperwork. According to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), you need to notify your employer and fill out a claims form, whether your employer gives you this form or you file it on your own.
A claims administrator will take a certain amount of time to review your case. If they approve your claim, the plan covers medical treatments related to the injury and possibly your living expenses. If they deny your claim, you can appeal their decision, either on your own or with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney.
If you have expenses that are above and beyond what the state workers’ compensation program covers, it is possible to receive compensation outside of this program directly from your employer. This possibility becomes particularly relevant if negligence on the part of your employer or supervisors caused the injury. Sometimes, this negligence takes the form of not having adequate safety precautions in place.
Contact a Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If you have more questions about how workers’ compensation payments work in Los Angeles, you can contact the office of a workers’ compensation lawyer for more specific answers related to your case. Dealing with any injury can feel overwhelming and become a lot to manage. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 529-9122 to schedule a free consultation with a team member to ensure you can get the help you need during this trying time.