The workers’ compensation system in California was established in 1913 by the Boynton Act. The act required employers to provide compensation benefits to workers that included permanent and partial disability. Since then, California has passed reforms and bills that have strengthened the rights of workers to seek compensation following a work-related injury. If you work in Cathedral City, a Cathedral City workers’ compensation attorney can provide the answers to your questions.

What Are My Rights Under Workers’ Compensation in California?

Your rights under workers’ compensation in California include the right to have your medical expenses covered when they are tied to a workplace injury. These benefits cover:

  • Medical evaluations
  • Treatments
  • Surgery
  • Mental health services
  • Physical therapy
  • Transportation costs
  • Medical aid devices
  • Prescription drugs

Qualifying injured workers can be reimbursed based on a mileage rate for travel to medical appointments. If your workers’ compensation plan delays or rejects your claim for medical expenses, you can work with a workers’ compensation lawyer to access these important benefits.

What are my rights under workers compensation in California?

Temporary Disability Payments

Injuries that result in back injuries, traumatic brain injury, tendonitis, and other ailments may make you eligible for temporary disability payments through your workers’ compensation plan. These payments are calculated based on your average weekly wage. Two-thirds of that weekly amount will be paid to you once you qualify for compensation.

Most workers require these payments for a few to several weeks. More serious injuries could qualify you for payments lasting up to two years, and certain exceptions can allow you to be paid for even longer. Examples of serious qualifying injuries include amputations, burns, eye injuries, lung injuries, and other serious conditions and injuries.

Permanent Disability

If your injury impairs your ability to return to work, you may have the right to access permanent disability payments. Your age, injury sustained, occupation, and doctor feedback will be used to give you a permanent disability rating that will make you eligible for long-term disability payments.

Life Pension Payments

These are smaller weekly payments that are given in addition to disability payments. You may be able to receive these payments for the rest of your life.

Vocational Retraining

Also known as the supplemental job displacement benefit, these benefits are for workers who cannot return to their previous line of work due to a workplace injury. In some cases, the employer can make accommodations that allow an injured worker to return to work. If this cannot be done, your workers’ compensation plan can pay a voucher for state-approved schools or education-related training. The voucher covers tuition, fees, and any book expenses.

Death Benefits

When someone dies while engaged in work-related activity, the survivor of that deceased person may be eligible for death benefits. These can cover the lost wages the deceased worker would have earned, along with burial expenses.

Other Rights

As an employee in California, you have the right to apply for workers’ compensation without fear of retaliation or harassment. While you are on leave, your employer cannot terminate you or retaliate against you because you were injured or used workers’ compensation benefits. These rights apply to undocumented workers as well.

Employers must:

  • Provide injured workers with a claim form within one day
  • Return a copy to the injured worker
  • Forward claims and reports
  • Authorize medical treatment up to a certain amount
  • Provide alternative or transitional work when possible

If you witness violations of co-workers’ ability to file for workers’ compensation, you can report those violations, and your employer cannot retaliate against you. Your employer has a responsibility to maintain a safe and open workplace where employees can work without fear of retaliation.


Q: What Are the Rights of Injured Workers in California?

A: Injured workers in California have the right to file for workers’ compensation. Your boss cannot withhold application forms or hinder your application. If you qualify, you have the right to medical expenses, reimbursement for missed work, and disability benefits through the insurance policy. If the insurance company fails to honor your rights, you can hire an attorney who will negotiate or litigate, if necessary, on your behalf.

Q: Can You Be Fired While on Workers’ Comp in California?

A: You can be fired while on workers’ comp in California for matters not related to your injury. Employment in California is at-will, meaning either worker or employer can end the business relationship at any time. If your employer terminates you for being injured or claiming benefits that you are entitled to, then you may be able to sue for wrongful termination. If your company is facing financial problems and has to lay off workers, then you may not be guaranteed your job.

Q: How Long Can an Employee Be on Workers’ Compensation in California?

A: An employee can be on workers’ compensation for upwards of two years in California, but there are some exceptions in which it can last even longer. The vast majority of cases involve minor injuries, and the employee is able to recover and return to work within a few weeks. If your injury led to a serious illness or condition that impairs your ability to work, a workers’ compensation lawyer can fight for your benefits to be extended as long as you need.

Q: How Long Does a Workers’ Comp Case Take to Settle in California?

A: Most workers’ compensation cases settle within 30 days in California. If the insurance company is cooperative and your workers’ compensation claim is approved, then the settlement will occur voluntarily by both parties. If the insurance company rejects your claim or fails to adequately provide compensation for your injury, your workers’ compensation lawyer can take legal action that will add to the timeline of your case.

Schedule Your Workers’ Compensation Consultation Today

In California, workers have the right to seek benefits through their employer’s workers’ compensation program. No employer can delay or impede that process, and insurance companies have a duty to provide benefits to injured workers.

Unfortunately, many workers face barriers when seeking these benefits, but English Lloyd & Armenta can help. We provide strategic and thoughtful legal counsel that serves your interests. To schedule your consultation, please contact our office today so that we can fight for the compensation that you deserve.