Workers’ Compensation Law in California provides the legal framework, the amount of compensation, types of medical care that injured workers are to receive in the event that they sustained an industrial injury.
California Workers’ Compensation Law only applies if there is jurisdiction. Jurisdiction means that the State of California has the power to rule on the matter. Sometimes injuries sustained outside of California may be within the jurisdiction of California Law. Sometime injuries sustained inside the State of California may not be the jurisdiction of the State of California. In these circumstances, a factual analysis is important to make a legal determination.
In California, special laws have been enacted concerning whether Professional Athletes have jurisdiction under California Law.
When dealing with issues of jurisdiction, a complete legal analysis of the facts is required to determine whether California Law applies. Even though a legal analysis may suggest that California Law applies, it is quite possible that the Employer or the Carrier may contest California jurisdiction.
Besides California Law, there are other laws that may govern work injuries in California. Some individuals are employees of the United States Government and they have their own systems of compensation. These can include Postal Workers or workers at the Department of Homeland Security. Other systems available for compensation include the LHWCA which the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This federal law covers employees disabled from on the job injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel. Death benefits are also part of the compensation package as well. The LHWCA covers employees in traditional maritime occupations such as longshore workers, ship-repairers, shipbuilders or ship-breakers, and harbor construction workers. The injuries must occur on the navigable waters of the United States or in the adjoining areas, including piers, docks, terminals, wharves, and those areas used in loading and unloading vessels. Non-maritime employees may also be covered if they perform their work on navigable water and their injuries occur there. Further, there are other Federal Government Acts which provide for their own system of laws and benefits. They are the Defense Base Act (DBA), the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA).
Types of Injuries Covered?
In California Law, cumulative trauma injuries are permitted. There may be other jurisdictions that look unfavorably towards cumulative trauma claims of injury.
Body Parts Covered?
In California Law, psychiatric claims are permissible. There are limitations and burdens with respect to finding them. In other States, psychiatric claims may be permissible but they may require a higher burden of proof.
Access to Medical Care?
In California Law, there are laws and regulations which allow for Injured Workers to obtain treatment and obtain medical-legal examinations to prove up their claims. Each state has their own rules and regulations with respect to treatment and evaluations.
Amounts of Compensation Paid?
In California Law, there are certain amounts of benefits that are paid and for specific periods of time for temporary disability, permanent disability and death benefits. In each State, the rates and the lengths of the benefits are different.
Calculations of Permanent Disability?
In California Law, Permanent Disability is calculated by the AMA Guides 5th Edition. It is further augmented by case law and statutory findings of disability. Other states have different means of calculating permanent disability.
Access to Legal Assistance?
In California Law, absent some Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR) programs, Injured Workers have the right to legal counsel to assist in pursuing their claims. Further, they have the access to have their matters heard as part of an administrative hearing process through the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. They are allowed to have a Judge hear and rule of their case. In some states, access to legal counsel is different.
If you are confronted with a choice of venue, it is important to completely analyze which jurisdiction is more advantageous based upon all factors. This includes, but is not limited to, amount of earnings, occupation, and type of injury.
With more than 23 years of expertise in defending workers’ rights, the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation, is here to assist. If you have any questions concerning your rights, please do not hesitate to contact our offices. Please contact us today concerning any workers’ compensation questions or issues.