If you experienced a work-related injury or occupational disease, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. With some exceptions, most workers are entitled to protection under workers’ compensation laws in California.
Workers’ compensation insurance system in California is essentially a trade-off between employees and their employer. Employees who suffer an on-the-job injury or a work-related illness receive certain benefits to assist them during their recovery. In return, they generally cannot sue their employer over the injury or illness.
There are 5 basic types of workers’ compensation benefits that include medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits.
Workers’ compensation covers most job-related injuries such as bone fractures, muscle tears, soft-tissue injuries, burns, back injuries, and joint injuries, as well as illnesses from exposure to hazardous substances, such as asbestos. Severe or fatal injuries, including spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, are also covered as long that they occurred during work activities. Psychiatric injuries are potentially covered as well, given that job-related mental stress may produce mental disorder, physical disorder or both. However, the rules are different for these injuries and there is understandably a higher threshold of evidence in proving cases of mental stress related disability.
However, not all injuries that take place at the workplace are covered by the workers’ compensation. For instance, the following injuries are not covered: stress or other psychiatric disorders not associated with a specific event or other injury; self-inflicted injuries; injuries caused by fighting or horseplay; injuries that were incurred while committing a crime; injuries incurred while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.