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California Workers Compensation

California Workers Compensation

Quick Guide to California Workers’ Compensation Laws

California Workers’ Compensation Laws

California workers’ compensation insurance is the country’s oldest social insurance program, and it was started in the second decade of the 20th century in several states including CA.  California workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect both the employer and the employee, and all CA employers are required to have California workers’ compensation insurance.  

Under this type of insurance, employees are granted quick and effective medical treatment for work related injuries—regardless of fault—but in return, those employees cannot sue the employer for the same injury.  “Quick and effective” treatment under CA workers’ compensation laws entitles the employee to the following types of benefits: 

• medical care

• temporary disability benefits

• permanent disability benefits

• supplemental job displacement benefits

• vocational rehabilitation 

• death benefits

California workers’ compensation insurance claims are normally uncontested, but an employer may become involved in a dispute because they believe too much WC is being offered, the medical examiner was unqualified, the employee is faking an injury, or more.  All claims are brought through the Division of Workers’ Compensation under the Department of Industrial Relations and brought through the Information and Assistance Unit or in front of a judge within a division.  

Medical Treatment under California Workers’ Compensation Laws

All doctors working with a patient under California worker’s compensation insurance are required to decide which type of treatment will allow the employee to recover the fastest.  There are a number of guidelines a doctor must follow under California workers’ compensation law, and these guidelines cover areas such as: 

• which type of treatment is the most effective for certain injuries or illnesses

• how often the treatment needs administered

• the extent and intensity of the treatment 

Guidelines regarding medical procedures and evaluations under California workers’ compensation laws can be found in your local DWC office within their American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s practice pamphlets.  In order to view these pamphlets and guidelines, write 

Division of Workers’ Compensation

Medical Unit

P.O. Box 71010

Oakland, CA 94612

or find more contact information by referencing the following website and looking under the appropriate division: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/dir2.htm 

Fines for Failing to Carry California Workers’ Compensation Insurance

If the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement finds that an employer is not carrying WC insurance, California workers’ compensation laws prohibit the employer from using employee labor until coverage is obtained.  

Also, there are a number of fines associated with failing to carry California workers’ compensation insurance, including incarceration in county jail for 60 days and a fine up to $10,000.  Additionally, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement will enforce a fine of $1,000 for every employee on the payroll at the time labor was stopped, and this fine cannot exceed $100,000.  

If you are an employee and you were injured while working under an employee not carrying Ca workers’ compensation insurance, you can still seek reimbursement through the Uninsured Employers Benefit Trust Fund.  For contact information to offices that deal with UEBTF, visit the following website