If you have suffered an injury at work or repetitive stress during a job has worsened an existing injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits that cover your medical costs and lost wages. Many people do not know they can collect benefits or worry that they can lose their job for filing a claim.
Learn more about your rights by getting the facts behind these workers’ compensation myths.
You can get fired for seeking workers’ compensation
In fact, the law protects you from losing your job because you suffered a work injury. The California Workers’ Compensation Code prohibits employers from firing an employee under these circumstances, and injured employees also have federal legal protection. If the company does not rehire you when you become able to work again, you can potentially file a discrimination lawsuit.
Your employer must be at fault for you to qualify
Some workers think they cannot sue if their injury did not result from employer negligence. However, California is a no-fault state when it comes to workers’ compensation. As long as a doctor confirms that the injury was work-related, you can collect:
- Costs of medical treatment
- Mileage reimbursement for traveling to and from medical appointments at the 2019 IRS rate of 54 cents a mile
- Temporary disability payments equaling two-thirds of your average weekly wage for up to two years
- Permanent disability payments if you are no longer able to work
- Up to $6,000 for retraining if you can work but cannot fulfill your previous job duties
You cannot receive treatment from your own doctor
In California, you can see your primary care physician for a work injury as long as you give your employer written notice of this intention before you become injured. This process, called predesignation, applies only if you have health insurance. Otherwise, you may need to see your company’s designated doctor.
Protect your finances if you suffer a work injury. Often, repetitive stress and acute damage lead to short-term and long-term disability.