Most members of the California workforce can find comfort in the knowledge that someone will have their backs if they should suffer occupational injuries. The state-regulated workers’ compensation insurance program would cover workplace injuries and illnesses, even if they resulted from the negligence of the workers or employers. However, there are specific circumstances under which benefits claims might be denied.
An employee who suffered injuries while alcohol or drugs impaired him or her might not be eligible for compensation. The state is entitled to test that employee for impairment, and if tests show that the alcohol or drugs were factors at the time of the incident that caused the injuries, benefits claims might be rejected. Injuries that happen when an employee is acting in violation of company policy or state or federal law will not be covered, nor will those that were self-inflicted or suffered when the worker was off duty.
However, valid claims will provide benefits to cover all the medical expenses related to workplace injuries and illnesses. Although wage replacement benefits are modest, workers who suffer temporary disabilities will not be left destitute. Those who suffer debilitating injuries that prevent them from returning to the same job might be awarded vocational rehabilitation to retrain them for different positions, and victims of catastrophic injuries that caused total disability will receive long-term benefits.
The California workers’ compensation insurance system also provides financial assistant to the surviving family members of workers who lost their lives in workplace accidents. Survivors’ benefits typically cover the expenses related to end-of-life arrangements along with a financial package to help with day-to-day living expenses and monthly obligations such as rental or mortgage payments. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can provide support and guidance throughout the benefits claims process, and he or she can also help with the navigation of an appeal if a claim is denied.