If you are injured at your job in the State of California – and it can happen to anyone – you will probably qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits, but you will need some advice and guidance from a Marin County workers’ compensation attorney.
Workplace injuries are often agonizing, both emotionally and physically. After you recover, you may not want to continue in a hazardous work environment. Can you resign from your job while you receive workers’ compensation benefits? Should you? Would you lose your benefits?
Just because you receive workers’ comp benefits does not mean that you’re stuck with your job. But if you quit while you are recovering from an injury, it may affect your benefit payments. It’s more complicated than you might think, but if you will keep reading, you’ll learn some answers.
How Many Workplace Injuries Happen in California?
Plenty of injuries happen on the job in this state. In 2018, more than 400,000 job-related injuries and illnesses – and 422 fatalities – were reported in California. Construction is the most dangerous line of work, but every job has its hazards, and anyone could be injured on the job.
Both the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health actively enforce workplace safety standards, but we all make mistakes, so there is simply no way that all workplace accidents can be avoided.
Most employees who are injured on the job will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is an injury insurance program administered by the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation.
What Benefits Are Provided Through Workers’ Compensation?
California employers are required by law to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, even if they have only one employee. Employers carry workers’ comp insurance so that when an employee is injured on the job, that employee may file an injury claim and receive benefits.
In California, workers’ compensation provides four types of benefits to employees who have been injured at their jobs: medical benefits, temporary disability benefit payments, permanent partial disability benefit payments, and assistance for vocational retraining.
Medical Care and Treatment Benefits
If you are injured on the job, you are entitled to medical care and treatment for your injury or injuries for as long as you need it, without regard to your employment status.
Even if you quit your job after you’ve sustained an injury, you will be covered by workers’ compensation for:
1. injury-related surgeries and prescriptions
2. injury-related hospital and doctor bills
3. any medical devices that may be required
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability payments are two-thirds of an injured employee’s average weekly wages, up to a maximum of $1,299.43 (as of 2020). Temporary disability payments are available only after a doctor confirms that an employee cannot work due to a work-related injury.
It is usually better to stay with your employer until your workers’ compensation injury claim has been completely resolved. If you quit your job while you are receiving temporary workers’ compensation disability benefits, you will lose the right to continue collecting those benefits.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Permanent workers’ compensation disability benefits may be approved after an employee reaches the maximum medical improvement level, meaning that no further healing can be expected, if a doctor determines that the job-related injury has resulted in a permanent disability.
If you are permanently disabled by your injury, quitting your job before you reach the maximum medical improvement level may reduce your benefits, but in most cases, after a doctor verifies that you are permanently disabled, you can quit and still receive permanent disability payments.
If you are injured at your job, as soon as you have been seen and treated by a medical professional, consult a San Rafael workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney can help you file your claim and ensure that no mistakes or misunderstandings delay your benefit payments.
How Will a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help You?
Proving that the injury you sustained happened at work is not always easy. If you don’t have a medical exam immediately after a job-related injury, you may not be able to prove that your injury happened at work, or the insurance company may claim that you weren’t seriously injured.
A workers’ comp attorney can help. Your workers’ comp attorney can obtain any surveillance video and eyewitness statements that may be helpful and will ensure that you see the right doctors and have the medical records you will need.
If your claim is disputed by your employer or by your employer’s insurance company, or if anything emerges in the process that might keep you from receiving workers’ comp payments, the right attorney will advocate on your behalf and appeal any denial of your benefits.
When Should You Speak With an Attorney?
If you are receiving any type of workers’ compensation benefits, before you quit your job, consult with your workers’ compensation attorney. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t take any action that might leave you injured or disabled – and without any income.
You also need to consult with a California workers’ compensation lawyer if you have already quit your job but you want to apply for workers’ comp benefits.
As soon as possible after a workplace injury, report the injury to your employer, who should provide you with an application for workers’ compensation benefits. The information you provide will play a major role in determining what workers’ comp benefits you will receive.
Let an attorney help with your application for benefits. As mentioned previously, any mistake or misunderstanding could delay your benefits or even result in the rejection of your claim.
What Else is Important to Remember?
You also need to be aware of the deadlines. Without an attorney’s guidance, you could miss important deadlines, and your claim might be denied. It is always best to seek legal assistance as quickly as possible after you have sustained an injury at your place of work.
This state’s workers’ comp attorneys routinely handle the most complex workers’ compensation claims, so they know precisely what it will take to acquire the benefits you need and deserve.
A Marin County workers’ compensation attorney will provide an injured worker with a free case evaluation with no obligation. If you are injured at your job anywhere in California, exercise your rights and speak promptly to a good workers’ compensation attorney.