Workers’ Compensation FAQ
Answers to Common Questions about Workers’ Comp in Glendale & Los Angeles County
After a work-related injury, the most important thing (aside from your health) is obtaining the benefits you need for medical treatment, lost wages, and disability. At the Law Offices of Wax & Wax, our Glendale workers’ compensation attorneys are committed to helping you secure all of the financial resources you will need to help you on your road to recovery.
You may have questions about your workplace injury and the California workers’ compensation system. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about workers’ compensation, as well as answers from our knowledgeable legal team.
What should I do if I’m injured at work?
Report the injury to your employer (by talking to your supervisor) as soon as possible. This helps prevent problems and delays in receiving benefits, which includes the medical care you will need. In addition to reporting the injury, get emergency treatment if needed or find a healthcare provider from your employer. You now have documentation of your injuries for your workers’ compensation claim. Remember: In most cases, you must report the injury to your employer within 30 days in order to be eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
How long do workers’ compensation claims take? How much do they cost?
The answers to these questions depend on your individual circumstances. For example, if you were severely injured and require long and complicated medical treatment, your case may require more time to settle. Medical expenses and attorney fees come out of your settlement and are paid by your employer’s insurance company. The fee for your legal representation must be approved by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board.
How long do I have to report my injury?
Generally, you have 30 days from the date of your injury to report it to your employer. You also have to file your workers’ comp claim, known as the DWC-1 claim form in California, in this time period. If your injury occurs over time, you have 30 days from the date you suffer a temporary disability and realize that it was due to a work-related injury.
What happens if I don’t report it on time?
You might not be able to collect workers’ comp benefits, unless you can show that your employer knew or should have known about your injury within the 30-day period. If you simply didn’t report it, you should talk to a workers’ compensation attorney to figure out other options.
What benefits am I entitled to?
Workers’ comp insurance provides medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits.
How much will I be paid while on workers' comp?
Wage replacement benefits can become available to you through workers’ compensation if you miss a week or more of work because of your injury. Under California’s workers’ compensation rules, you must be paid two-thirds of your average weekly wages that you were earning before the accident. Your employer might have a disability pay leave program to bring your wages up to 100% of what you were earning, but this is something that varies from employer to employer.
How often do workers’ comp checks show up?
Workers’ compensation pay is delivered to you once every two weeks like many employers pay their employees. However, it can be more than two weeks before you see your first payment. Typically, it takes three workweeks to get a benefits paycheck because you need to miss at least one week of work to even become eligible for wage replacement benefits.
Will my workers’ comp be paid in a lump-sum settlement?
Not all workers’ compensation claims will reach a settlement. Many are paid normally, and a few will have to go to court to reach a fair resolution. But, if your case is going to settle, then it could be paid in a lump-sum settlement that gives you all of your owed benefits at once. On the other hand, you could agree to a structured settlement that gives you monthly payments. You can talk to your attorney about your options, and to see if one would be better than the other.
Are my workers’ comp benefits taxed?
The financial benefits that you can collect through workers’ compensation are typically untaxable. The money you are given could affect your taxes, though, as it will impact your total annual income. Also, if you are placed on light-duty work and allowed to earn a paycheck while still on workers’ compensation benefits, then those benefits might be taxed.
Can I get benefits to help me find a new job?
Your employer should try to find you light-duty work that you can complete without exacerbating your injuries. If they cannot, then you might qualify for vocational retraining benefits through workers’ compensation. The programs available to you might vary, but they should be designed to help you start a new job position at your place of employment or possibly even begin a new career elsewhere.
Can I see my own doctor?
In California, the doctor you choose must be your regular primary care physician. If your health insurance is through your employer and you have not predesignated a doctor, you’ll likely need to see a doctor chosen by your employer or in your employer’s healthcare network.
Do I pay copays, deductibles & other costs?
No, your medical benefits through workers’ compensation should cover all aspects and costs of your medical care. Copays, deductibles, and prescription costs should be fully covered, so you pay nothing from your own finances. You can also get reimbursed for travel costs to and from the doctor, like the money you spent on gas in your car.
Can my employer try to stop my workers’ comp claim?
No, your employer cannot do anything to try to interfere with your workers’ compensation claim. They are required to adhere to the state’s reporting requirements and comply with further instructions. Your employer is allowed to challenge your claim as the law allows, but they cannot make unlawful or unregulated decisions that could prevent you from getting your workers’ comp benefits.
Can my employer fire me while I’m on disability?
It is illegal to terminate or discriminate against an employee who is injured at work and on disability. If you are fired, you may have your compensation increased by one half up to a maximum of $10,000 plus costs up to $250, reinstatement of your job, and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits.
What if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?
If your claim is rejected, you can request a hearing before the California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. While you’re not required to bring a lawyer, it definitely helps, especially if your injury is serious.
How can an attorney help me?
Workers’ compensation cases can be complex and often require an in-depth knowledge of the laws to help you get the settlement your injuries deserve. A Board-Certified Workers’ Compensation specialist, like those at the Law Offices of Wax & Wax, has years of case work and has demonstrated results in a number of claims. This experience, as well as continual education in the field, can benefit your case greatly.
If you need legal representation in connection with a workers' compensation issue or related matter, call our Glendale workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Wax & Wax. Call us at (818) 946-0608 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.