California Worker’s Compensation Laws

California worker’s compensation laws are applicable since the year 1913 when the Boynton Act was first enacted. However, it was since 1917 when the state government made the compensation coverage mandatory for the employers. As per these laws, when job-related injuries or illnesses result in temporary or permanent disability for employees, they are entitled for compensation from their employers. The amount of compensation does not just cover the medical expenses but also the wages loss thus caused. Unlike the majority of other states in the United States of America, California does not even require an injured employee to sue the employer in a court. The provisions of the state laws have been designed in such a way that ensures immediate medical and financial benefits to the injured employees. Following is a brief rundown on some of the major aspects of these laws.

Legal Requirements For Employers

As per the California worker’s compensation laws, the state has adopted a compulsory system for compensation to those employees who get injured at the workplace on a no-fault basis. It is legally mandatory for all employers who are running their businesses in the state of California to obtain a suitable worker’s compensation insurance policy. Alternatively, they can contact the state Director of Industrial Relations and obtain a certificate of consent to self-insure from them. Failure to meet these legal requirements is considered as a misdemeanor, which may result in up to $10000 of monetary fine and/or up to twelve months in jail imprisonment.

Choice Of Physician

In California, a self-insured employer or a worker’s compensation insurer often establish a group of health care providers, known as MPN (Medical Provider Network). An injured employee must choose a physician from this group to for the treatment of work-related injuries. However, the California worker’s compensation laws also allow certain exceptions. For example, the employees while signing up for the job get an option to declare if they will use their personal physician for the treatment of job-related injuries. If a personal physician has been pre-designated, the injured employee will have an option to choose either his or her personal care provider or someone from the Medical Provider Network as established by the employer or their workers compensation insurer. Here. It is important to note that the pre-designated option is usually applicable in those organizations that meet certain basic legal criteria in this regard. For example, this option can be used –
- if the employee has already notified the employer in advance about it,
- if the personal physician selected by the employee has provided his or her consent to treat job-related injuries,
- if the chosen health care provider has the past medical records of the employee resulting from the previous treatments, or
- if the employer is providing group health coverage.

Death Benefits

In cases, where an employee dies because of an accident at the workplace or because of an illness or injury caused by hazardous factors available at the workplace, the California worker’s compensation laws provide death benefits to the immediate family members of the victim. The eligible members to receive these types of benefits include the surviving dependents, such as children and/or the surviving spouse.

Permanent Disability Benefits

The state laws also provide permanent disability benefits to those employees who are unable to return to work because of the injuries or illness caused at the workplace. There are certain provisions that have been explained under the state laws that are used to establish the amount of compensation in these types of cases. Some major factors that are taken into account in this regard include the salary or the wages of the employee before the injury occurred, the date of the injury, and the disability rating of the employee (severity of the disability). The workers compensation claim adjuster must start making the payments for the permanent disability benefits within two weeks after the time period for the temporary disability benefits end.

Temporary Disability Benefits

The California worker’s compensation laws have enacted certain provisions that make it mandatory for the employers to provide monetary compensation to the injured employees to cover the lost wages until they completely recover from the injuries. There are basically two provisions – temporary partial disability benefits to those employees who are able to do some work during the recovery period and temporary total disability benefits to those who cannot return to work unless they are completely recovered from the work-related injuries or illnesses. In general, these types of benefits amount to two-third of the gross monthly salary.

Though no specific provisions have been made under the California worker’s compensation laws to limit the attorney’s fee for such cases, a California workers compensation lawyer must first get the fees approved from the Department of Industrial relations on a case-by-case basis. As we can see, the laws are in favor of the employees, but these laws can benefit you only if you are well aware of your legal rights.