Visitor Question

What do I need to do after back injury at work?

Submitted By: Yujie (San Jose, California)

I hurt my back on 4/15/17 at work. I took physical therapy like cup, acupuncture, and massage. I also took time off and received workers compensation pay. When I took an MRI of my spine, it showed some problems as I stated. I don’t know how long it will take to heal. I have a couple questions…

  1. Will workers comp cover all the treatment until my back is completely recovered?
  2. Since my work requires bending and lifting heavy stuff, I may never be able to return to my previous position due to the back injury. If that happened, can I get any help to get another job. Do I have to take the loss if I cannot find other job or find lower paying job?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Yujie,

YesCalifornia law requires workers compensation claims administrators to authorize and pay for all medical care which is “reasonably required to cure or relieve the effect of the injury.”

The California Commission on Health and Safety provides Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits for workers who, as a result of an on-the-job injury, are not physically able to return to their previous job duties.  These benefits can include services to help you find a new job which meets your skills, qualifications, and physical abilities and limitations. You may have access to counseling, training, education, and even self-employment opportunities.

Speak with your supervisor or the workers comp claims administrator and request immediate medical treatment. The California Labor Code, Part 4 – Chapter 2 – §5401 sets out the reciprocal obligations and duties of injured workers and the administration of workers comp benefits. 

If you are unable to return to your previous job duties, your employer may offer you a different position which meets your physical abilities. However, if because of finances or for other legitimate business reasons, your employer is unable to offer you work, you may have to seek employment elsewhere. In the interim you may be entitled to temporary disability benefits.

For more information about workers compensation proceedings read Part 4, Chapters 1-7 and Articles 1-3 of California Labor Code and Chapter 9 Article 2

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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