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Know your employer’s workers’ compensation responsibilities, and your own

In our last couple posts, we’ve been speaking about the responsibilities of both employers and employees in the workers’ compensation claims process. Picking up where we left off in discussing employers’ responsibilities, in addition to the duties of providing prompt medical treatment and injury/illness reporting, there is also the duty to maintain contact with the employee. One of the primary goals of maintaining contact is to coordinate when the employee is able to return to work.

Employers, via their personnel office, also have the responsibility to make sure that employees are informed of their benefits under state law. Once a claim is approved, personnel offices are required to send information to workers about supplementing their Industrial Disability Leave.

It should go without saying—though it doesn’t hurt to make sure—that employees ought to be aware of their workers’ compensation rights at all times. This is both to ensure that they don’t put themselves at risk of losing the ability to file a claim, and to ensure that they are aware when an employer is not abiding by their responsibilities. Knowing when an employer is not acting rightly is the first step to taking appropriate action. As they say, knowledge is power.

Employees also, of course, have the right to dispute a workers’ compensation decision with which they disagree. Though State Fund—the state’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier—does provide injured employees with information about how to dispute a claim determination, it can be beneficial to work with an attorney experienced in the area of workers’ compensation. For an injured worker, having an informed advocate at one’s side in the workers’ compensation claim process can help to ensure his or her rights are protected.

Source: California Department of Human Resources, “Workers’ Compensation Preview,” January 2014. 

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