Can an employee refuse workers compensation in California?
In California, there are many state workers’ compensation statutes in place that clarify what employers and employees must do in the event of an on-the-job injury. These laws dictate steps the employer must take to ensure worker safety and well-being. The mandates include specific timelines to follow and required documentation for completion. But sometimes, employees do not want to deal with the time and attention some of these processes require. They just want to deal with the injury on their own and get back to work. But under the law, can an employee refuse workers compensation?
Why would an injured employee refuse workers’ compensation?
Before refusing workers’ compensation after a workplace injury, ask yourself why you want to refuse these benefits. Some common reasons people give in these scenarios include:
- You don’t want to fill out paperwork.Regardless of whether you want to receive workers’ compensation benefits or not, the law requires your employer to fill out paperwork about your injury. They must do this immediately upon noticing or hearing about your injury. They must discuss the incident with you and report it, so this process requires your participation. If you refuse workers’ compensation, they still must file a statement of refusal to pursue a claim with your signature.
- The injury is not that bad.As any workers’ compensation lawyer can confirm, far too many injured workers believe their injury is not bad enough for claim filing. Then, even years later, the injury presents discomfort, stiffness, numbness, pain, weakness or other symptoms that affect the worker’s ability to do their job. It is important to consider your future when you experience an injury. Use the resources available to you under the law to keep yourself fully functioning, financially stable and “whole.”
- You have medical insurance that will pay for your care.Another issue stopping many workers from a workers’ compensation claim is having to see the company’s doctor or go to a specific healthcare facility. Maybe you want to see your own physician or use your regular insurance benefits. But you should remember that workers’ compensation benefits exist to help you avoid paying high deductibles and other such costs. By going through the steps of a workers’ compensation claim, you also open yourself up to a wide range of other benefits that protect you and compensate for costs far beyond a doctor’s visit.
- You don’t want to miss work or lose income.Not wanting to miss work, lose income or risk your employment after injury is understandable. But all of these concerns are relieved through protections and benefits of workers’ compensation. If you miss work time due to the injury, treatment and recovery, workers’ comp pays lost income benefits to eligible individuals. You cannot be fired after on-the-job injury, either. In fact, the protections include benefits associated with helping you maintain your income level. If you must change jobs because of your temporary disability, benefits even exist to help you afford training for a new type of role better suited to your changing capabilities.
- You fear getting your employer in trouble.Workers’ compensation is not designed to penalize employers when an employee suffers an injury. In most cases, workers can seek these benefits without regard to whether the employer was at fault. This lack of blame in the benefits actually gives employers incentive to prevent injuries from happening and create a safe workplace.
- You fear retaliation by your employer.Many people injured on-the-job fear their employer’s retaliation if they file a workers’ compensation claim. But state law protects employees from any discrimination or retaliation. You cannot be fired or treated unfairly because you were hurt at work or because you must miss work to recover from the injury. Other employees who testify on your behalf in your claim cannot suffer retaliation, either. There are many more protections your workers’ compensation lawyer can explain to you.
How Workers’ Compensation Filing Works
It can be difficult to understand the complex process of a workers’ compensation filing at face value or in the moments following your injury. This is why it is always beneficial to call a workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you understand your rights, clarify the process and explore your options with you. An attorney can give you peace-of-mind and take the stress of filing off of your shoulders so you can focus on recovery.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer also knows the ins and outs of the filing process, how to navigate the system and what to expect from the workers’ compensation timeline. They will provide watchful oversight of your claim from its start to the activation of your benefits. When you seek the help of the compassionate workers’ compensation lawyers of Kesh Law in Southern California, recovering from your injury is all you need to worry about. You especially do not have to worry about making common mistakes that can affect your ability to receive benefits.
Below is a brief overview of how the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim in California works:
- After you suffer injury at work or find out you have a work-related illness, you have 30 days to provide a written report of this condition to your employer.
- Once you provide the written report of the injury or illness to your employer, they must give you a workers’ compensation claim form (DWC-1) within one business day. They must also provide information about your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
- You must complete the DWC-1 (employee portion) thoroughly and accurately. Submit it to your employer for their completion and submission to the insurance provider.
- When the insurance provider receives this form, they evaluate the claim. They must pay for your medical treatment, up to $10,000, even before the claim is processed. If you cannot return to work because of the injury, you start receiving temporary disability benefits within 14 days of the insurance company’s receipt of the documents.
You should contact an attorney immediately upon suffering a workplace injury. Your Kesh Law attorney can help you meet all of your paperwork filing deadlines. They will also ensure you do not make common mistakes in the documentation.
If your employer does not cooperate with the claim process as they must under the law, your Kesh Law attorney will help you understand your rights. They will also advise you of options for taking legal action to receive the compensation you deserve.
As you can see, there is really no reason to ask yourself, “Can an employee refuse workers compensation?” You have nothing to lose by taking advantage of the support and benefits provided to you in California after a workplace injury. In fact, these benefits exist to save injured workers from the financial damage even a temporary workplace disability can inflict. From a broken finger to fatality, workers’ compensation protects injured workers and ensures they do not suffer more during recovery.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at Kesh Law Today
If you are injured on-the-job or suffer an illness caused by your work, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer at Kesh Law today. We will assist you with all facets of your workers’ compensation claim to ensure you receive the maximum benefits to which you are entitled after your injury. We will even explain the answers to your question of, “Can an employee refuse workers compensation?” Contact Kesh Law now at (818)639-3955 to schedule your free consultation.