The workers’ compensation laws for manufacturing injuries and illnesses are the same in California as for any other industry. Manufacturing worker injury claims are handled using the same procedures and forms from the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).
Injured workers can access five basic types of benefits and the right to challenge adverse decisions about their benefits. A workers’ comp attorney could explain employee protections in manufacturing accidents and help you file an appeal following an unfair result.
California Workers’ Comp Benefits for Manufacturing Workers
According to the DWC, there are five primary types of workers’ compensation benefits for covered medical conditions in our state:
- Medical expenses related to your work-related injury or illness. Typically, your employer pays for this and other benefits through a workers’ comp policy they buy for these situations. You usually do not get a bill for these healthcare services.
- Temporary disability benefits. You can get paid a portion of your regular wages when you are recuperating from your illness or injury. Total temporary disability is when you are unable to work at all. You should not work anywhere else while collecting total temporary disability benefits. Partial temporary disability is when you cannot make as much money as before because of your illness or injuries.
- Permanent disability benefits pay you compensation if you complete your medical treatment and achieve the maximum level of healing, but do not recover 100 percent from your illness or injury. This benefit is intended to compensate you for that impairment.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits. If you do not fully recuperate and do not go back to work for your old employer, you could get vouchers that can help you pay for additional job training so that you can get a job with another employer. This situation often happens when your boss replaces you with another worker, so you do not have a job to return to.
- Death benefits. A worker’s surviving spouse, children, or other dependents could receive death benefit payments if the employee does not survive a compensable injury or illness. This compensation coverage accounts for burial expenses and other related services.
Each of these benefits has limitations and requirements. It is possible to lose benefits for the failure to follow the rules, such as refusing to get medical treatment or submit to a medical examination.
What to Do After Getting Sick or Hurt on the Job in the Manufacturing Industry
The Injured Worker Guidebook of the Department of Industrial Relations says that you should take these steps after a workplace illness or injury:
- Notify your boss right away about the injury or illness.
- Get medical care. You should go to an emergency room or call 911 for an emergency. Otherwise, get prompt medical attention from an approved provider in your employer’s network.
- Get a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1) from your employer or the Information & Assistance office of the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).
- Complete your medical treatment.
- Return to the job when your treating physician releases you to do so.
Be sure to follow the rules of the California workers’ comp program to maintain your eligibility for benefits.
You Can Apply for Workers’ Comp Benefits Free of Retaliation from Your Boss
It is illegal for an employer to fire a worker because they got hurt on the job or filed a claim for workers’ compensation for a job-related illness or injury. If your boss retaliates against you by terminating your employment or threatening to fire or demote you because of your injury or your request for benefits, you could talk to a workers’ compensation attorney about your legal options.
How to Protect Your Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits
You could learn the workers’ compensation program rules on your own, or you could consult with an attorney. Whichever option you choose, don’t delay, because the first form must get filed within 30 days of the injury or illness.
Also, in case your claim gets denied, or the insurance company stops providing benefits, you will want to keep good records of:
- Discussions you have had with your boss, the insurance company, the claims administrator, and others about your claim. Keep detailed notes of these talks. For instance, you could screenshot any emails or text messages.
- How your medical condition impacted your ability to work. Write notes as you progress through your treatments and afterward.
- Keep copies of your pay stubs that show the difference in your income before and after the injury or illness.
- Keep receipts of all out-of-pocket expenses related to your claim, like traveling to doctors’ visits or paying for prescriptions.
Every worker’s comp claim is different, so you might need to take additional measures to protect your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your manufacturing industry illness or injury.