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Workers Compensation 101

Workers Compensation 101

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People who suffer injuries or illnesses at work might feel overwhelmed and confused when filing a workers’ compensation claim. Many of those who experience injuries in workplace accidents search for “Workers’ Compensation 101” guides online to find answers to their questions. The knowledgeable and results-driven attorneys at Diefer Law Group help clients in Riverside and other parts of Southern California pursue workers’ compensation claims. The Riverside workers’ compensation lawyers at Diefer Law Group can thoroughly explain each step of the claims process and help injured workers secure the compensation they deserve under the law. Call (888) 301-7795 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. 

 

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

The term “workers’ compensation,” also known as workers’ comp, refers to the insurance that provides coverage to help workers pay for work-related injuries and illnesses. In California, all employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance regardless of the size and scope of their business. The cost of the insurance varies by state and depends on a number of factors, including the industry and the on-the-job risks involved for covered employees. 

 

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in California?

Workers’ compensation in California gives covered employees benefits if they have a work-related injury or illness. The goal of providing workers’ comp benefits is to have the injured employee return to work when they can. However, if a worker cannot return to work, they will receive permanent disability benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits in California are calculated based on the worker’s average weekly wage. In exchange for providing workers’ comp insurance, employers are protected from lawsuits filed by their employees for work-related injuries and illnesses. 

According to California’s Department of Industrial Relations, there were a total of 645,409 First Reports of Injury submitted to the Workers’ Compensation Information System in 2020. Of those, nearly 37,000 were submitted in Riverside County. 

 

Who Is Required to Carry Workers’ Comp Insurance in California?

All employers in California are required to provide workers’ comp benefits to their employees under Labor Code § 3700. In other words, businesses that employ at least one employee are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Failure to have workers’ comp insurance is a criminal offense in California. 

 

Who Is Covered by Workers’ Comp in California?

Employers in California must provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees, including part-time employees, undocumented workers, and even minors. However, it is a common misconception that California’s workers’ compensation insurance covers all workers in the state. The following individuals are typically not covered by workers’ comp in California: 

  • Sole proprietors (except roofers)
  • Independent contractors
  • Individuals who work for aid
  • Certain volunteers
  • Some individuals participating in amateur sports
  • Deputy clerks and sheriffs
  • Individuals employed by their family members

 

Individuals who are uncertain about their rights to receive workers’ compensation can contact a California workers’ compensation attorney at Diefer Law Group. The attorneys at Diefer Law Group help clients navigate the claims process to pursue the compensation to which they are entitled. Continue reading our comprehensive “Workers’ Compensation 101” guide to find out what benefits are available under workers’ comp insurance in California. 

 

What Does California’s Workers’ Comp Insurance Cover? 

It is vital to understand what expenses, losses, and costs are covered by California’s workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp insurance in California covers:

  • Medical expenses and costs related to medical care
  • Lost wages (loss of income)
  • Travel costs (reasonable expenses of transportation)
  • Reasonable burial expenses (if a worker dies on the job)
  • Rehabilitation and retraining expenses

 

Injured workers must file a workers’ compensation claim to obtain the above-mentioned benefits. When a claim is filed, the employer’s insurance company will process the claim and determine if there are sufficient grounds to approve it and award the benefits.   

 

What Benefits Does California’s Workers’ Comp Insurance Provide?

According to California’s Department of Industrial Relations, the state’s workers’ compensation insurance provides the following five benefits:

  1. Medical care benefits cover the cost of treatment to cure or relieve the effects of the work-related injury or illness
  2. Temporary disability benefits replace a worker’s lost wages when their injury or illness prevents them from working on a temporary basis
  3. Permanent disability benefits for workers who do not fully recover from a work-related injury or illness
  4. Supplemental job displacement benefits help workers who do not fully recover pay for skill enhancement or educational retraining (these benefits come in the form of vouchers)
  5. Death benefits are paid to family members of workers who die on the job or from occupational disease

 

Each California workers’ compensation case is unique, which is why injured workers often need a consultation with a Riverside workers’ compensation lawyer to understand their rights and determine which benefits are available in their specific situation. 

 

How Should Injured Employees Report an Injury at Work?

In California, workers must report their work-related injuries or occupational diseases within 30 days in order to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. However, verbally notifying the employer or supervisor about an injury at work is not enough to protect the right to seek workers’ comp benefits. California law requires injured employees to formally report their injuries, in writing, to the employer within 30 days. Employers must provide a claim form (DWC-1 form) in which the injured employee will answer questions about the injury, the workplace accident, the parties involved, and other information.

 

How Can a California Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help? 

Many people who sustain on-the-job injuries or suffer occupational diseases wonder if they need a California workers’ compensation attorney to help them with a claim. Hiring a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer can improve a worker’s chances of securing the compensation they deserve because an attorney can:

  • Help navigate the complex claims process
  • Answer questions and help make informed decisions during the claims process
  • Communicate with the employer and insurance company on behalf of the worker
  • Help complete and file the necessary forms
  • Ensure that the worker meets important deadlines
  • Gather the necessary evidence to support the worker’s claim
  • Prepare the worker for the appeals process if their claim is denied
  • Negotiate a settlement 
  • Represent the worker’s best interests at the hearing

 

At Diefer Law Group, we do not believe in a “cookie-cutter” approach when guiding our clients through the workers’ compensation claims process. Our attorneys work tirelessly to protect the rights of every client and help them secure a resolution of their workers’ compensation claims. 

 

Riverside Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at Diefer Law Group

When a worker suffers an on-the-job injury or develops an occupational disease, time is of the essence. Our team of workers’ compensation lawyers in Riverside helps clients with each step of the claims process, from reporting the accident and communicating with insurance providers to gathering the necessary evidence and settling a claim. At Diefer Law Group, we strive to provide the highest quality legal representation to maximize the recovery in every case we take. If you did not find answers to your questions in our “Workers’ Compensation 101” guide, call (888) 301-7795 to get a free case evaluation with our attorneys.

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