Earlier this months, two dock workers were inflating a tire on a top-handler, a large piece of equipment used to move shipping containers around the Port of Los Angeles, when it exploded. One worker was killed instantly in the blast. The other was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for critical injuries.
Now a family grieves the early loss of a loved one, while another man’s life may never be the same. When workers are injured or killed on the job, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to offset accident-related financial burdens.
Benefits Available to Injured California Workers
Most employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in case an employee gets hurt on the job. Injured workers can file a claim to recover benefits to compensate for medical bills, disability, and help with job placement. Receiving workers’ compensation benefits typically prevents a worker from suing their employer.
If you’re injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation for accident-related medical expenses. However, you can’t just see any doctor you’d like. You’ll have to see a physician who’s been approved by the insurance company. These doctors are part of a Medical Provider Network and are familiar with workers’ compensation treatment standards and procedures.
Compensation for medical expenses can be used to pay for:
- Medical devices, and
- Other approved treatments.
You may also be entitled to reimbursement for the miles you log while traveling to and from the doctor.
Sometimes an injury can keep you out of work for a while. When this happens, workers’ compensation benefits can be paid to cover your lost wages during this time. Generally speaking, you can get two-thirds of your regular paycheck. In order to receive temporary disability benefits, your doctor will have to state that your injury is work-related.
You’ll have to visit the doctor once every 45 days to reassess your situation. In California, temporary benefits can be paid for up to 104 weeks after your injury.
What if your injury prevents you from ever working at the same capacity ever again? You may be able to receive permanent disability benefits if you’ll never fully recover from your injury. The amount you can receive will depend on the extent of your injury.
If you are considered totally disabled, you can receive benefits equal to those paid for temporary disability for the rest of your life. If you are considered partially disabled, you can qualify for a percentage of those temporary benefits and a pension.
Families May Be Entitled to Benefits After Fatal Workplace Accident
What happens if an employee doesn’t survive a workplace accident? Family members may be entitled to a workers’ compensation death benefit. The death benefit can cover expenses that are related to the worker’s death. This can include money for:
- Medical bills incurred after the accident
- Funeral and burial costs, and
- Financial support.
In California, death benefits are available to the victim’s dependents. Dependents are classified as either “total” or “partial.” Classification refers to how much a dependant relied on the victim’s care and support. It also determines the death benefits a surviving family member can receive.