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Key facts to remember about workers' compensation in San Diego

Workers' compensation is something that San Diego residents will frequently forget about until they need it. It is easy to get caught up in one's routine and think that a workplace accident or workplace injuries cannot happen. Unfortunately, they can and do. Sometimes they occur when working at jobs that require a lot of physical labor. At other times, they happen in safe, sedentary jobs where the belief that an injury can occur is thought to be limited to the worst-case scenario. Workers' compensation benefits are imperative and it is wise to know certain facts about them no matter the type of work a person does.

When a worker is injured on the job, the employer is required to pay workers' compensation benefits. This can be due to an injury, a repetitive use issue or exposure. The benefits include medical treatment paid for by the employer; temporary disability benefits for lost wages; permanent disability benefits if the workers can never get back to work; supplemental job displacement benefits for workers who suffered their injury in 2004 or later with vouchers to assist with paying for the maintenance or enhancement of skills when he or she cannot return to the previous occupation; and death benefits for the spouse, children and other dependents.

Workers who are injured on the job should immediately inform a supervisor, whether it is a sudden injury or one that slowly accumulated. If it is necessary to receive emergency treatment, this should be done immediately and the employer informed. A claim must be filed and given to the employer. Receiving good medical treatment is imperative. Some workers are frightened that making a workers' compensation claim could cost them their job even if they are aware that it is their right to receive it. The employer is not allowed to fire a worker who was injured on the job, nor can there be punishment of any kind when pursuing workers' compensation benefits.

Since injuries happen every day during the course of work, those who have been hurt or who are suffering from a condition as a result of the type of work they did need to be fully aware of their rights to workers' compensation. If there is any problem with receiving the applicable benefits or the employer is implying there might be punitive measures taken for filing a report and claiming the benefits, seeking legal help is a must.

Source: dir.ca.gov, "Division of Workers' Compensation -- Factsheet," accessed on March 7, 2017

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