Nobody goes to work in the morning expecting to be in the emergency room by lunchtime. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries happen on the job every day even to workers who are careful to avoid them. If you get hurt during a shift, it’s important to seek prompt medical treatment – even if you don’t believe your injuries are serious at the time. If you end up filing for workers’ comp, you’ll need to show that you were proactive about seeing a doctor.
Many employees are reluctant to visit the doctor on a workday because they’re worried they won’t be paid for the time off. While this might be the case with a routine dentist appointment, a worker who suffers a job-related injury should not be financially penalized for taking care of his or her health. Here’s a closer look at whether workers are paid for time off for doctors’ appointments in California.
If I’m hurt at work, will I still get paid if I go to the doctor?
The California workers’ comp system protects injured workers from the financial consequences of job-related injuries. But what happens if you need to see a doctor before you’ve filed a claim? On the day of an injury, your employer is required to pay you for time spent waiting for and receiving medical treatment during your normal working hours under the Fair Labor Standards Act. However, if your treatment extends beyond the time you were scheduled to work, say 5 p.m., you will not be paid for that time.
Will I be paid for attending follow-up doctors’ appointments?
If you file for workers’ comp and return to work with limitations, you will need to attend follow-up doctors’ appointments to continue receiving benefits. Under California Labor Code 4600, workers’ comp will pay for time off for doctors’ appointments that are required by your employer or its insurance carrier. This payment will not come as part of your paycheck from your employer. Rather, workers’ comp will issue payment equal to one day of temporary disability indemnity for each required doctors’ appointment related to your injury.
Additional protections under California Labor Code 4600
There will be times when you attend doctors’ appointments at the request of your employer, your employer’s insurer, the administrative director, the appeals board, or a workers’ comp judge. Under California Labor Code 4600, you will be reimbursed for all reasonable travel, meal, and lodging expenses related to attending the appointments. This is in addition to your workers’ comp benefits and the one day of temporary disability indemnity for each day of wages lost.
Are you being compensated for taking time off for doctors’ appointments?
Many employers believe that if you aren’t working, you shouldn’t be paid for your time. However, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and California Labor Code 4600 protect workers who become injured performing their job duties and need time off for doctors’ appointments. If you’re back at work with limitations and are required to check in with your physician, workers’ comp will pay for the time off along with travel, meal, and lodging expenses. The best way to ensure you receive all of the benefits you’re entitled to is with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney.
At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates in San Diego, we defend the rights of injured workers every day and fight hard on their behalf. We’d be honored to do the same for you. Call us today at (619) 528-9800 to schedule your free consultation.