All About Workers’ Compensation

Employment Law and Workplace Injury

The Bay Area workers’ compensation system evolved over 100 years ago, as a “grand bargain” between employers and workers. Prior to workers’ comp, injured employees had to sue their bosses in court to collect money for their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. This system led to tremendous inequalities and frustrations on both sides. Workers’ comp allowed hurt workers get a fair deal without having to resort to extraordinary legal measures; and it helped employers avoid expensive and frustrating court battles.

In California, workers are entitled to three major types of benefits:

  1. Benefits to cure and manage the injury. These include hospital and physician costs as well as money for tests, x-rays, prosthetics, medications, and therapies.
  2. Money to compensate for your lost wages. These benefits are tax-free, and you can generally keep collecting them until your doctor says you’re okay to return to work.
  3. Money to compensate you for a permanent injury or disability. For instance, if you lost a finger in a factory accident — or your eyes got permanently damaged due to exposure to volatile organic compounds — you can get cash benefits for your loss. Likewise, if someone dies at work, the victim’s family can obtain money through workers’ compensation. You can also collect a voucher to retool or retrain to find new employment. This voucher can be worth up to $6000.

[Read more: Fired After Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim]

Navigating Worker’s Comp with a Personal Injury Attorney

In an ideal world, your employer, physician, and any relevant insurance company would collaborate to help compensate you fairly and get you back to doing work you love.

In practice, many injured workers (and their families) need help navigating the system, dealing with the bureaucracy, fighting back against unethical insurance companies, and managing non-compliant or even actively hostile employers. Connect with a workplace injury lawyer with the Law Offices of Daniel Vega today for a free consultation about your Bay Area workers’ compensation case.