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What is “Workers’ Compensation?”

For more than 100 years, California has sought to protect its workers through the workers’ compensation system. The goal was to provide benefits to workers injured due to their work without regard to whose fault caused the work injuries. This is called a no fault system. The benefit of the system is that the injured worker does not bear the responsibility if he or she is the actual cause of the accident. In other words, an employer cannot point the finger at the employee to claim that the employee’s conduct led to the injuries. At the same time, the injured worker must file his or her claim within the workers’ compensation system and is barred from suing the employer directly in civil court. This system is not only the law in California, but the rights are guaranteed by the California Constitution itself!

Because of this “no fault” system, workers injured in California while on the job are entitled to benefits to pay for missed days from work due to the injury, payment for any permanent disability if the injuries cause permanent damage to the worker, payment of all medical expenses associated with treatment of the injuries and allowing for payment to help retrain the injured workers if the injuries are severe enough to prevent the worker from returning to his or her prior job.

While the workers’ compensation system appears to be geared toward protecting the injured workers, employers and their insurance carriers work tirelessly to limit injured workers’ entitlement to these benefits. The claims examiners handling these injuries for the insurance company are trained on how to limit the benefits paid out on claims. Oftentimes, the insurance company will also hire a lawyer whose goal is the same as the claims examiner in terms of keeping claims costs as low as possible. It is for these reasons that every injured worked is entitled to legal representation in order to even the playing field to give the injured worker his or her best chance to obtain the maximum value of the benefits the California Constitution has given to all California workers.

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