When you get hurt at work, you probably immediately understand that the California workers’ compensation program can help. State law requires that all employers carry coverage, and even someone working part-time who gets hurt on their first day on the job can get benefits.
Workers who get hurt because of a co-worker’s mistake or a machinery malfunction can get benefits for lost wages while they recover and medical expenses. Those who develop medical conditions, like carpal tunnel syndrome, from doing their job, can also qualify.
However, while many injured workers have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits, some of them have a harder time than others. There are certain situations that make it more likely that a worker will face challenges to their benefits claim. What issues could affect your ability to get benefits after a work injury or a diagnosis with a work-related medical condition?
You don’t report the injury to your employer
The company that you work for needs to have a record of your injury and you only have 30 days from the time that you get hurt or diagnosed to file a claim. Waiting longer could put your right to benefits at risk.
The connection between the condition and your work isn’t clear
Another reason that workers face an uphill battle when seeking workers’ compensation benefits is that their injury could be the result of something that happened outside of work.
Back injuries and repetitive motion injuries may require a special review by a qualified medical examiner (QME) for the worker to connect the condition to their job and get benefits. The more documentation you have connecting your injury to your employment, the easier it will be to get benefits.
They don’t follow medical orders
If the doctor overseeing your care recommends a specific treatment or tells you you need to change your work responsibilities, you either need to follow their instructions or seek a second opinion. When a patient receiving workers’ compensation benefits fails to follow medical recommendations, the insurance company could use their non-compliance as a defense for future benefits.
Learning more about your rights to no-fault workers’ compensation coverage in California can help you avoid common mistakes that hurt people’s claims.