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Workers' compensation is not always provided when it should be

Being injured on the job may bring more than physical pain. An employee may worry about the hours or days off work the injury may require and the hardship it will bring to his or her family. However, workers' compensation insurance is required to be carried by most California businesses. Its coverage is meant to provide benefits for injured workers so they will not suffer financially while they recover.

Nevertheless, of all the citations issued by the Labor Commissioner's Bureau of Field Enforcement in 2014, almost half of them were given to employers who did not provide workers' compensation coverage. Some do not want to pay for the insurance, but others who pay for it may not submit claims because they fear their premium rates will rise. Among those businesses most likely to skirt the workers' compensation laws are restaurants. Because kitchen helpers are often underpaid, they fear losing their jobs if they question their bosses.

When a restaurant carries no insurance for employees, workers may refuse the medical care they need because they cannot afford to miss work. Restaurant workers frequently suffer from cuts and burns, or from leg and back pain due to long hours on their feet. Some employees report that their bosses tell them to keep working after they suffer an injury in the kitchen. Other say they are discouraged from taking bathroom breaks and end up with urinary tract infections.

A worker in California who is injured on the job must report the injury to his or her employer immediately. What follows should be a process leading to quality medical treatment and payment for missed work while recovering from the injury. Under any circumstances, an injured worker has the right to consult an experienced  workers' compensation lawyer to see what can be done to potentially recover lost wages and other insurance benefits.

Source: kcrw.com, "Injured on the job, workers are discouraged from getting help", Karen Foshay, Aug. 2, 2016

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