California Workers’ Compensation Laws and Regulations

Barry Law Group
California Workers’ Compensation Laws and Regulations

Nobody wants to get injured on the job. A workplace injury can result in a loss of income, pain and suffering, and a loss of livelihood for some. Workplace injuries and illnesses do occur, and, fortunately, those employed in California can take advantage of workers’ compensation benefits in these situations. Understanding the basics of California workers’ compensation laws and regulations is a great way to be prepared in case anything goes wrong on the job.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

There are five types of benefits that injured or ill workers may be entitled to. Depending on the circumstances, workers or their family members may be eligible for more than one type of disability.

  • Medical Care. Those injured on the job are entitled to the medical treatment required to cure or alleviate their work-related injury or illness. This includes hospital bills, physical therapy, physician visits, prescriptions, x-rays, and any other medical care considered necessary by the treating physician to address the injury or illness.
  • Temporary Disability Benefits. If a workplace injury limits a person from returning to work within three days of the incident, they are entitled to temporary disability benefits. Temporary disability helps to replace two-thirds of wages lost as a result of being unable to work due to the injury. This replacement wage is generally paid bi-weekly either until the employee can work again or their condition becomes permanent.
  • Permanent Disability Benefits. Permanent disability payment results when an injury or illness sustained on the job leads to a permanent impairment that prohibits them from doing their job. The amount received depends on multiple factors such as age and extent of the injury and can be paid in a lump sum or weekly payment until the maximum amount set by state law is reached.
  • Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits. If a workplace injury or illness results in you not being able to return to the same type of job, the supplemental job displacement benefit could be useful. It is a voucher the injured employee can use to go towards up to $6,000 of fees associated with education-related training or skill enhancement. This can help a person get a different job that is possible to complete with their injury.
  • Death Benefits. If an employee is fatally injured in the workplace, reasonable burial expenses are paid under workers’ compensation law. Depending on the situation, qualified surviving dependents may also be entitled to receive support payments. The amount dependents may receive depends on how many dependents the employee had and whether they were total or partial dependents.

Total Disability Rate Increases in 2022

Changes that primarily impact workers’ compensation insurance companies happen periodically, and employees might not even hear or care about these. In 2022, however, the California Division of Workers’ Compensation made an announcement regarding rate increases that may interest employees as potential workers’ compensation benefit recipients. Those already receiving benefits prior to 2022 will also be pleased about the news.

Temporary total disability (TTD) rates increased as of January 1, 2022, due to new calculations completed by the CA Division of Workers’ Compensation. The increase is essentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of jobs it has created. This resulted in a higher overall average income for those who continued to work since many of the people who lost their jobs were lower-wage employees. Thus, the average income increased, which prompted the TTD rate increase.

The previous range of weekly TTD payments was $203.44 – 1,356.31. As of January 1, 2022, the new range is $230.95 – $1,539.71. The minimum weekly payment increased by about $30, which can be crucial for those on a tight budget struggling to pay for essentials.

FAQs About California Workers’ Compensation Laws and Regulations

What Are the Requirements for Workers’ Compensation in CA?

In California, all employers are mandated to have a workers’ compensation plan, even small businesses with only one employee. Employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they experience an injury or illness as a direct result of their job. Procedures for reporting workplace injuries must be carefully followed to access workers’ compensation benefits.

What Injuries Are Not Covered by Workers’ Comp?

Some injuries that occur on the job are not covered under workers’ compensation. These exemptions can include self-inflicted or intentional injuries, injuries caused by horseplay or fighting, or injuries caused due to the influence of drugs or alcohol. Injuries sustained while violating company policy are also not covered. Attempting to purposely get injured on the job in order to access workers’ comp benefits is a felony.

How Are Workers’ Comp Settlements Paid Out in CA?

Payouts for workers’ comp depend on your specific settlement terms. An agreed-upon lump-sum amount in a Compromise and Release is required to be paid out within 30 days of the settlement. If an employee settles with a Stipulation and Award, this will be paid via check every other week. Stipulation and Award payments are paid over a period of weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely, depending on the injury.

What Are the Statutory Limits for Workers’ Compensation in CA?

Workplace injuries should always be reported as soon as possible, but California law requires they are reported no later than 30 days after the incident. The workers’ compensation claim needs to be filed within one year of the date of the incident, but as soon as possible after the injury is best. Federal employees’ cases fall under federal law; therefore, they have three years from the date of the incident to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Barry Law Group Supports Injured Workers

At Barry Law Group, we specialize in personal injury and workers’ compensation law in California. Our team has up-to-date knowledge of California workers’ compensation laws and regulations, so you can focus on healing. Leave the legal work to us. We understand adjusting to life after a workplace injury can be difficult enough without the stress of working through a workers’ compensation claim.

Barry Law Group will ensure you get the legal support you need so you can get the financial support you deserve. For more information about how we can help, contact Barry Law Group today.

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