The term workers' compensation references a system of laws addressing the benefits that apply to injured employees, including the surviving families of workers killed on the job. It also refers to the procedures that must follow in order to claim said benefits. In addition to the state workers' compensation system in California, there are similar laws and regulations that cover federal workers and those that work in certain industries, such as railroad workers.
Virtually every business must carry some form of insurance for workers' compensation in order to cover injured employees. The claims process is often compared to the process of filing an insurance claim. That is, it is not considered a lawsuit against his or her employer but, rather, simply a formal request for benefits.
The laws pertaining to workers' comp are designed so that those employees who suffer a work injury will receive a fixed monetary award without going through the legal process of litigating a claim against an employer. It provides an important safety net for injured employees. It is considered a no-fault system, which means that the injured worker's -- or a co-workers' or employer's -- negligence is not the issue at hand; instead, the injured employee is financially covered for the work-related injuries suffered.
The types of injuries employees are typically eligible for compensation for may include: pre-existing conditions that are accelerated or aggravated by the workplace, injuries suffered during breaks or lunches, a disease such as lung cancer if the employee contracted it due to his or her exposure to certain toxins while at work while under normal working conditions and injuries that are the result of physical or mental strain due to increased work responsibilities or stress. California employees injured at work must file the claim as quickly as possible, and many choose to consult an experienced workers' compensation attorney, as the system can be complicated. Skilled legal assistance is often required when it's necessary to appeal the denial of a claim.
Source: FindLaw, "Workers' Comp In-Depth", Accessed on May 28, 2016