What are the workers’ compensation benefits? Ask the lawyer – LA Daily News

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Q: I was injured in an industrial accident, unable to work for a month and may have treatments for quite a while. Just what workers’ compensation benefits are available?
S.J., Orange

A: Work comp benefits include medical treatment for the work-related injury; wage loss, or temporary disability benefits, if you can not do your usual job while recovering; permanent loss of function or permanent disability benefits to the extent you do not recover completely; retraining or job displacement benefits; and payments to your spouse or other dependents if you die from job injury or illness.
In California, workers’ compensation is one of the few legal disciplines in which an attorney can qualify as a “certified specialist.” I recommend you seek out such an attorney to assist you.
Q: If I am working and get hurt “on the job,” it is covered by workers’ compensation, but what if I am attending a function (a dinner) with the company and get hurt there?
L.H., Rancho Cucamonga
A: If you get hurt in the course and scope of your employment, then it is likely you have a work comp claim. California is one of a few states, however, in which injury resulting from voluntary recreational activity may not qualify for work comp coverage. If you can demonstrate that your employer directly or indirectly required your participation in the function, then your injury may be compensable as work comp.
Various questions come to mind with regard to your inquiry: Was the function something that had occurred on a number of occasions before? If you did not attend, were you required to work during that time? Was a record of attendance kept? These are among the issues that should be evaluated to determine if work comp is applicable.
The California Department of Industrial Relations has a helpful guidebook about work comp available online. To find it, type “DIR, California, work comp guidebook” into your web browser.
Ron Sokol has been a practicing attorney for more than 35 years, and has also served many times as a judge pro tem, mediator, and arbitrator. It is important to keep in mind that this column presents a summary of the law, and is not to be treated or considered legal advice, let alone a substitute for actual consultation with a qualified professional.
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