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Recent reform in California’s workers’ compensation system

No matter what industry you work in, there is always some risk of injury. All workers should be aware of their rights to workers' compensation if injured at work. Knowing your rights and how to exercise them will ensure that your financial future is secure in the unfortunate event of an injury.

Benefits provided under California worker's compensation laws

In California, if a person has suffered a work-related injury or illness, the law requires that his or her employer pay for workers' compensation benefits. Generally, an injured worker receives five basic benefits: medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, substantial job displacement benefits and even death benefits.

The fact that a number of different types of benefits are available helps to ensure that an injured worker is compensated for almost all financial changes resulting from a work-related injury. Not only will all the associated medical bills be covered, but in the unfortunate event that an injured worker does not completely recover, that person could also be eligible for disability benefits.

In order to receive workers' compensation benefits, the injured employee must report the incident to his or her employer. If medical treatment is needed immediately, an injured worker should always receive treatment even if he or she has not yet filed a proper claim. Once the individual is able to file a claim, he or she must fill out a Worker's Compensation Claim Form and give it to his or her employer.

Reform of California's worker's compensation system

Recently, the California legislature approved a redesign of California's $17-billion workers' compensation program. The legislators approved the redesign in hopes that it will increase the benefits afforded to injured workers, while also decreasing the costs for employers.

In order to extend benefits and decrease costs, the legislature engaged in negotiations between employers and unions. As a result, they were able to reduce workers' compensation losses and expenses by 4.9 percent. With this substantial decrease in costs, the workers compensation system has a somewhat higher surplus, and is therefore able to extend more benefits to those whose claims have been approved.

Make sure you get the compensation you deserve

Even if a claim is denied, an injured worker may still be eligible to receive benefits. If the State of California Department of Industrial Relations denies the claim arising from a workplace injury, the worker may file an appeal with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. If you or your family member has been denied a workers' compensation claim, contact an experienced industrial injury and disability appeals attorney who can discuss your available options.

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