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Things new employees should know about workplace injuries

Have you recently entered the workforce of California? You may feel anxious because there is so much to learn. You may not realize that the most important part of your training should cover the known and potential hazards of your job. Unfortunately, not all employers prioritize employee safety, and you might be a victim of a workplace injury sooner or later.

Fortunately, the workers' compensation insurance system of the state will cover you, and equipping yourself with the necessary information may prove valuable if you ever become a victim of an on-the-job injury. Knowing what procedures to follow in such an unfortunate event may serve to secure maximum benefits.

What injuries are covered?

Workers' compensation insurance covers all types of occupational injuries and illnesses. It could follow a fall that caused back injuries, a toxic chemical splash that burned your skin or a crash while you drove a delivery truck. Other circumstances that may lead to benefits claims include repetitive strain injuries in your wrist if your job entails long hours of repeating the same hand movements or suffering the loss of hearing because of daily exposure to excessive noise.

What benefits can you expect to receive?

The type of injury you suffered, along with the severity of it will determine the benefits to which you will be entitled. Here are the types of benefits for which you can qualify:

  • Medical Care -- Your employer must pay your medical bills immediately, even if the workers' compensation claim is still pending.
  • Temporary Disability Benefits – If you have to spend time in the hospital or are unable to return to work while you recuperate, you will receive a portion of lost wages for that period.
  • Permanent Disability Benefits -- If your injuries cause a permanent disability that prevents you from obtaining gainful employment again, you may receive long-term or permanent benefits as a wage replacement.
  • Occupational Rehabilitation -- In the event of a particular injury, such as an amputation, you might be unable to return to your usual job. However, you may be healthy enough to pursue another occupation. In such circumstances, you may receive vouchers toward paying for occupational training that will equip you with new skills that will prepare you for a new career.
  • Death Benefits -- If you should suffer fatal workplace injuries, the insurance program will pay survivors' benefits to your dependents. These will cover the expenses related to end-of-life arrangements and a percentage of your average wages for a predetermined period after your death.

Steps for you to take after an injury at work

Look after your health first by getting emergency care and secure quality medical attention for further treatment if necessary. The next important step is to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible after the incident. Within one day of your report, your employer must provide you with a claim form that you will fill out to apply for workers' compensation benefits.

Now that you have the necessary information about the workers' compensation process, one more concern may involve stories about employer retaliation. Some employees have wrongfully lost their employment because they filed benefits claims. This type of retaliation by an employer is against the law in California, and legal action may be taken against your employer in the event that you are fired for pursuing workers' compensation benefits.

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