Workplace Accidents: California Labor Laws and How They Protect You

A recent report made public by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that approximately 4 million people are involved in a tragic workplace accident which irremediably impacts their physical condition and welfare every single year, all across the US. Fortunately, the legal framework offers the best support to employees who have to deal with such a dramatic episode that triggers considerable financial losses and unimaginable pain and suffering.

Workers’ compensation laws were created and implemented to help employees cope with the negative consequences of a workplace accident, usually involving unpredicted expenses in the form of medical bills, lost wages, monetary benefits and so on. These laws provide a stable financial compensation to the victims of workplace accidents. In case the worker dies in a tragic accident at work, or loses his/her life as a result of a serious work-related illness, the family of the deceased is entitled to financial compensations.

Financial compensations for workplace injuries
California’s Workers’ Compensation Act was implemented to help employees recover after a serious workplace accident, but it also provides a certain level of protection to employers and other staff members, limiting their liability. All in all, the California Labor Code section 4600 (a) clearly indicates that the employer has to cover the expenses associated with medical services (hospital treatment, surgery, chiropractic treatment) and essential medical supplies (crutches and prosthetic devices are included in this category) guaranteeing a full recovery for an employee who has suffered a workplace accident.

Coping with temporary or permanent disabilities

 Unfortunately, some workplace accidents trigger permanent or temporary disabilities which will inevitably stop employees from earning a living. In this case, the California Labor Code section 4650 (a) stipulates that the first compensatory payment should be made no later than 14 days after the employer has been notified of the workplace injury which caused the temporary disabilities. If you want to profit from all the benefits that you are entitled to in this situation, fill out the DWC 1 claim form that you should receive from your employer one day after reporting your accident. You should receive financial compensations for your temporary disability (TD) every 2 weeks. Payments should start as soon as your doctor reaches the conclusion that you can’t perform your normal duties for more than 3 days and should end when you go back to work.

Support for the family of the deceased in case of a workplace fatality

According to a report issued by OSHA, approximately 4600 employees were killed on the job, in different circumstances, all across the US in 2011. Workplace fatalities are not a rare phenomenon and always affect the families of the deceased workers, both emotionally and financially. Fortunately, the legal framework in California offers them a certain level of protection. According to the California Labor Code section 4700, accrued and unpaid compensations will go directly to the deceased’s dependents. Also, section 4701 reveals that, apart from providing financial compensations to the grieving family, the employer will also have to provide financial support meant to cover funeral expenses (up to ten thousand dollars for workplace injuries taking place after January 1st  2013, according to section 4701 (3) ). Last, but not least, the dependent is entitled to a death benefit, which should be provided by the employer when he/she “leaves any person dependent upon her or him for support”.


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