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Workers' compensation: Young workers are not invincible

Thousands of teenagers in California are likely looking forward to their summer jobs. Employers who take on young workers will probably be aware that many of them enter the workforce feeling invincible. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires business owners to provide adequate safety training and information about workers' compensation eligibility.

Regardless of whether young workers start their jobs this summer in temporary or permanent positions, they will be entitled to worker's compensation benefits if they should suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. This applies even for those who are younger than 18 years, and they need not be legal U.S. residents to receive benefits. It is a no-fault system that pays benefits regardless of who was at fault.

The benefits typically cover medical expenses related to the injury or occupational illness, regardless of whether an employee misses work time. Wage replacement is included for workers who are hospitalized or absent from work for more than three days, with some exceptions. Additional benefits are available for victims of injuries that caused permanent disabilities.

The first step after an on-the-job injury in California is to get the necessary medical treatment and to report the incident to one's supervisor or employer. Workers who are not yet 18 years old must also inform their guardians or parents. The employer must provide a claim form to be filled out and then file the claim for benefits. Dealing with the benefits claims process can be daunting, and many injured teenage workers use the skills of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to provide the necessary support and guidance.

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