5 Ways California Workers Comp is Better Than Other States
If you are a worker who was injured on the job while employed in California, our workers comp attorneys may have some good news for you. While no one wants to get hurt at work, California is known for having some of the most employee-friendly workers’ compensation laws in the entire country.
Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, and the benefits available to injured workers can differ significantly depending on where they are located. In this article, our experienced workers’ comp attorneys will compare California workers’ compensation law to other states and highlight some of the ways in which California law is more liberal or favorable for employees than workers’ compensation law in other states.
#1. California Workers Comp Benefits for Mental Health
First, it is important to understand some of the basics of workers’ compensation law. Workers’ compensation is a system designed to provide benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their employment. Benefits can include medical treatment, temporary or permanent disability payments, and vocational rehabilitation.
However, many states limit workers comp benefits for mental illness to conditions that were the direct result of an accompanying physical illness. In other words, in many states workers may only be able to receive benefits for mental health conditions if they can prove that the condition was caused by a physical injury.
California is one of the few states that provides coverage for mental health conditions related to work-related stress – without requiring an accompanying physical injury.
#2. California Workers Comp Benefits for Alternative Care
California law also provides a wider range of medical treatment options than many other states. For example, California law allows injured workers to receive acupuncture, chiropractic care, and other forms of alternative medicine as part of their medical treatment. In many other states, these treatments may not be covered by workers’ compensation.
Most notable, California law also allows for the reimbursement of medical marijuana under certain conditions. California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use (1996) and the first state to pass a law authorizing payment for medical marijuana in workers’ comp cases.
The vast majority of states do not provide coverage for medical marijuana under workers’ compensation. But in 2018 California passed Senate Bill 1169, which amended the Labor Code to clarify that medical treatment for injured workers can include medical marijuana, but only under certain conditions. Specifically, the new law requires that the use of medical marijuana must be recommended by a treating physician, and that the physician must provide a written treatment plan that includes the frequency and amount of marijuana to be used.
#3. California Workers Comp Permanent Disability Benefits
Another area where California law is more favorable for employees is in the area of permanent disability benefits. California law provides a formula for calculating permanent disability benefits that takes into account a worker’s future earning capacity, which can result in higher benefits for injured workers. Other states may use a more limited formula that does not consider future earning capacity.
#4. California Workers Comp Retaliation Protection
California law also provides more protections for injured workers who are facing retaliation from their employer for filing a workers’ compensation claim. California law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who have filed a workers’ compensation claim and provides remedies for workers who have been retaliated against.
Under California Labor Code Section 132a, an injured worker who is retaliated against by their employer may be entitled to remedies and damages, including reinstatement of employment, reimbursement for lost wages and benefits, and compensation for any damages resulting from the employer’s retaliation.
#5. California Workers Comp Benefits for COVID-19
California workers’ compensation laws also offer better protections for employees with COVID-19 than many other states. California has passed specific laws to provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees who have contracted COVID-19 in the course of their employment.
The first such law was Executive Order N-62-20, which was issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom on May 6, 2020. This order created a ‘presumption’ that employees who test positive for COVID-19 contracted the disease in the course of their employment, and therefore are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This means that the workers comp insurer must ‘presume’ that COVID-19 was contracted at work – and the burden is on the employer and their insurance company if they want to prove that the worker was not infected at work.
The presumption established by Executive Order N-62-20 was later codified into law by California Senate Bill 1159, which was signed by Governor Newsom on September 17, 2020. SB 1159 expanded the presumption to cover all employees who test positive for COVID-19 during a specified time period and under certain conditions, including first responders and healthcare workers who test positive within 14 days of performing work-related duties.
California Workers’ Comp Attorneys
Overall, California workers’ compensation law is generally more liberal and favorable for employees than workers’ compensation law in most other states. The state provides coverage for mental health conditions related to work-related stress, a wider range of medical treatment options, and higher permanent disability benefits. Additionally, California workers com law provides more protections for workers who have been retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim and for employees with COVID-19.
But remember, none of these benefits are “automatic”. The employer and their insurance company will often still try to deny workers compensation benefits, as a cost saving measure.
The experienced workers compensation attorneys at Cantrell Green can help you understand your rights, prove your case, fight the insurance company, and maximize your workers’ compensation benefits, including wage replacement, medical treatment, and vocational rehabilitation services now and as they are needed in the future.
Your consultation with our experienced airline employee workers’ compensation attorneys is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our attorneys will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ compensation benefits for which you qualify.
California Workers’ Comp Attorneys: 800-964-8047
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