Understanding Your Rights: What Every Injured Worker Should Know

Understanding Your Rights: What Every Injured Worker Should Know

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In California, all workers who are considered employees have the right to receive worker’s compensation benefits for a job-related illness or injury. California has a no-fault worker’s compensation system, meaning an employee may receive coverage regardless of who may have been at fault for their injury or illness. Learn what other rights you may have as an injured worker in California and when to seek legal representation for your case.

What Are the Rights of Injured Workers in California?

All California employers are required by law to carry worker’s compensation insurance, which provides employees with no-fault coverage for work-related injuries or illnesses. Worker’s compensation offers coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation assistance.

Injured workers may choose their own treating doctor, and also have the right to receive reasonable and necessary medical care for their work-related injuries. This includes access to medical treatment, surgery, and any necessary medications. Employers are responsible for providing any necessary medical care, and workers have the right to switch healthcare providers if they feel they are not receiving adequate care.

If an employee is temporarily unable to work due to their injury, they have the right to temporary disability benefits. These benefits provide financial support during the recovery period through the payment of a percentage of the employee’s average weekly wages. If the worker’s injuries are severe enough that they result in a permanent disability, the worker has the right to receive permanent disability benefits, including financial support and vocational rehabilitation for the worker as they adjust to their new limitations.

Can I Be Terminated for Filing a Worker’s Comp Claim?

Many workers who get injured or ill at work are afraid of filing a claim because they believe they may be fired for doing so, or that they are not eligible for benefits because of their immigration status. The truth is that all workers are entitled to benefits after a work injury – even undocumented migrants, part-time or temporary workers. Moreover, it is against the law to fire an employee for submitting a worker’s compensation claim. Doing so could constitute a wrongful termination, and workers who are wrongfully terminated have the right to seek legal remedies in court.

In addition, injured workers have the right to return to work and resume working in the same position they had before their injury or, if necessary, receive reasonable accommodation if they are unable to return to their previous position. Employers must make a reasonable effort to provide modified duties or alternative positions to accommodate the worker’s limitations.

Can I File a Lawsuit for a Work Injury Against My Employer?

While California’s no-fault worker’s compensation system prevents injured workers from filing a lawsuit against their employer in order to receive compensation for a work injury, there are a few circumstances in which a worker may have the right to take legal action and bring their case to the courtroom.

As mentioned before, a worker cannot be fired or retaliated against for filing a worker’s compensation claim or engaging in whistleblowing activities to report harassment or unsafe work conditions at their workplace. In addition, the worker’s compensation system only applies to those who are considered employees of an organization – which means if you are considered an independent contractor, you may file a lawsuit against the party you were providing services for in order to recover compensation. If you are unsure about whether your case is eligible for legal remedies, consult an experienced worker’s compensation attorney.

When Should I Consult a Worker’s Comp Attorney About My Case?

Even if you do not plan to file a lawsuit concerning your case, working with a skilled worker’s comp lawyer is beneficial as it can help you ensure your claim is processed without any problems and that you are being treated fairly by the insurance company, leaving no money on the table and accessing the maximum benefits you are entitled to. The worker’s compensation attorneys at the Espinoza Law Group are here to assist you with all aspects of your worker’s compensation claim. Call us at 213-667-0701 to learn more.

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