California first introduced workers' compensation in 1913. Workers' compensation is a no-fault insurance system, which means that no one tries to prove fault. By removing fault, employees and employers don't spend money and energy fighting out legal battles and instead focus on verifying injuries, tallying costs and disbursing payments. The worker receives less money and the employer saves money that would otherwise be spent on litigation. It is designed to improve quality of life for all parties involved.
Workers' compensation is required for all California employers with at least one employee. Your employer may finance their insurance through either:
- The government (state programs).
- Private insurance companies.
- Through self-finance.
You may request information regarding the insurance carried and the procedures on how to file a request. Once your employer is aware that one of their employees was injured "on the job," they must provide the necessary information and forms to file your claim. If your employer refuses to give you the information, then you may speak to your local California Workers' Compensation Office.
If you are injured, you are entitled to four types of compensation:
- Temporary or permanent disability benefits.
- Medical care.
- Rehabilitation services.
- Death benefits to family members or beneficiaries.
The type of benefit you receive depends upon the nature of your injury and your expected recovery. More likely than not, you will receive a combination of these benefits.
If you were injured while on the job, then you must file a claim with your workers' compensation insurer to get benefits. There are a few rare exceptions in which you may file a lawsuit. However, it will cost money and may take longer to get compensation. If you are unsure whether or not you should file for workers' compensation or a lawsuit, then you may want to speak with an employment law attorney. A legal professional can walk you through the pros and cons so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.