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How workers' compensation works in California

Accidents on the job are common in California, just as they are in other states. The most unsafe work environments such as construction sites, mines and fishing boats are often places that generate high numbers of workers' comp claims. When a worker suffers injuries on the job, he or she may need to undergo medical treatment, therapy and rehabilitation before returning to the workforce. California is like most other states and allows most workers to be compensated for injuries suffered on the job. To take proper advantage of the law and the benefits due them, workers should understand the basics of workers' compensation laws.

In general, workers' compensation provides an injured worker with benefits that will cover the costs of medical treatment. Lost wages for time off work also can be compensated under the workers' compensation system. However, workers' comp will not provide awards for such things as pain and suffering.

After a worker has suffered an injury, he or she should immediately notify the supervisor of the occurrence if possible. Notification should be prompt so the worker does not lose his or her job and benefits are not delayed or denied. To avoid being disqualified from receiving benefits, an injured worker should report the injury within 30 days.

After suffering his or her injury, the worker should seek immediate medical attention and inform the health care provider that the injury occurred on the job. If medical personnel are available at work, the worker should see them first.

Workers' compensation claims are often denied on first application. Workers can consult knowledgeable legal professionals who can handle such claims, allowing the injured workers to focus on their recovery.

Source:, "Chapter 1. The basics of workers' compensation," accessed on Dec. 7, 2014

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