Videotape: Introduction to Workers' Compensation
Approved by the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, March 12, 1998

1a Most workers never think about getting sick or injured at work. But it can happen to anyone. Injuries can happen on the job. People can get sick from the things they work with. Introduction to Workers' Compensation End of a crutch hitting the floor, hand being bandaged, person breathing into an oxygen mask. (Music)
1b For some people, their injury or illness is caused by a sudden event. Injury or illness caused by a sudden event  

Social worker:

1c     I was hit by another car while traveling to see a client.
1d     Store clerk: Since my store was robbed, I have been so stressed out. I had to get counseling.
1e     Medical technician: I got hepatitis from a patient while drawing blood.
1f For other people, their injury or illness develops from repeated exposures at work. Injury or illness caused by repeated exposures  

Agricultural worker:

1g     We're out there when the fields are sprayed. My doctor says the chemicals have affected my breathing.
1h     Printer: I wear these now. After years of listening to this press, I couldn't hear so well anymore.
2a Each year, over one million people in California get hurt on the job. The California workers' compensation system was created to help injured workers recover and return to their jobs.   Workers outdoors (slow motion) (Music)
2b State law requires employers to provide workers' compensation benefits. These benefits include . . . . Workers' compensation benefits   (Music)
2c Medical care to help you recover from your job injury. Medical care Worker receiving medical care. (Music)
2d Temporary disability payments to help make up for lost wages while you recover. Temporary disability payments Worker on crutches opening mail. (Music)
2e Permanent disability payments if your doctor says you will never recover completely. Permanent disability payments Worker in a wheelchair being pushed by nurse (slow motion). (Music)
2f Vocational rehabilitation services if your doctor says you are unable to return to your old job and your employer doesn't provide other work. Vocational rehabilitation Worker and job counselor reviewing a job application. (Music)
2g Death benefits to the spouse, children, or other dependents of a worker who dies from a job injury. Death benefits Graveyard (Music)
2h It's best to prevent job injuries wherever possible. But if you do get hurt on the job, workers' compensation benefits are provided - regardless of who was at fault. You don't have to be a U.S. citizen to receive these benefits. The California workers' compensation system covers nearly all private, state, and local government employees.   Various scenes of workers at work (some slow motion). (Music)
3a There are 4 initial steps for you to take if you get hurt on the job. Steps to take:

� Report the injury

� Get emergency treatment if needed

� File claim form

� Get medical care

(full screen, each item appearing when spoken by narrator)

3b You must report your injury to your employer. (Music)
3c You should get emergency treatment if you need it. (Music)
3d You must fill out and file a workers' compensation claim form. (Music)
3e You should get more medical care, if needed, to help you recover from your injury. (Music)
3f You'll learn about these steps though the stories of: (Music)
3g a nurse, Nurse Nurse (freeze frame)
3h a pipefitter, Pipefitter Pipefitter (freeze frame)
3i and a clerical worker, played here by actors.

Now, let's look at each of the 4 steps.

Clerical worker Clerical worker (freeze frame)
4a Report your injury or illness to your employer. � Report the injury Nurse on phone (slow motion) (Music)
4b     Nurse monologue: I strained my back while lifting a patient. It was really painful.
4c     Nurse lifting patient from wheelchair strains her back. (Sounds from the scene)
4d     Nurse on phone. Nurse monologue: I called my supervisor right away.
4e     Clerical worker monologue: My wrist and arm hurt constantly at work. And when I saw my doctor, she said it was tendonitis from working at my computer.
4f     Doctor bandages clerical worker's wrist. Doctor speaks to the worker as she writes a note to his employer. Jim, I'm stabilizing your wrist with a splint. But an injury like this takes time to heal. You're going to have to do work that does not require typing. If that's not possible, you're going to have to take time off to heal. All right?
4g     Clerical worker monologue: As soon as I got to work, I gave my supervisor the note from my doctor.
4h     The clerical worker hands his supervisor the note from the doctor. Hi. Excuse me. I just got back from the doctor and they gave me this note . . . .
4i     Supervisor, reading note.

Supervisor continues to read.

When did this happen, Jim? You know I'm counting on your help with this project.

And no, there's no other work here for you to do. Why didn't you report this to me sooner?

4j     Clerical worker monologue: The pain came on gradually. But I told my boss as soon as my doctor told me that I had tendonitis and that it was caused by my work.
4k   Jill Okinaka Cruz

State Information & Assistance Officer

Jill Cruz: You should report your injury right away. If your injury developed gradually, you should report it as soon as you learn it was caused by your job. This helps avoid possible problems with your request for benefits and helps you get the medical care you need.
5a If it's a medical emergency, get emergency treatment. � Get emergency treatment if needed Pipefitter walking to hospital (slow motion). (Music)
5b     Pipefitter monologue: I was working on a valve and something leaked out and splashed on me. It really hurt.
5c     Hard hat hits valve. Valve opens. Liquid pours out. Pipefitter gets chemical burn on arm and hand. Coworker takes pipefitter to emergency shower.



Pipefitter walks into ER.

(Sounds from the scene)





Something from a line burned Larry. I think it was acid.

Let's get him to the emergency room.

6a To request workers' compensation benefits, you must file a claim form. This should be done right away to avoid possible problems with your request for benefits. � File claim form Clerical worker filing out claim form. Claim form (freeze frame). (Music)
6b Your employer must give you this form within one working day after learning about your injury.   Clerical worker receiving claim form from manager.  
6c Read the back of the claim form for important information about benefits. Fill out the top half of the claim form, sign it, and give it to your employer. This is called "filing" the claim form. If you don't understand the form, get someone to help you. Your employer must fill out the bottom half, sign it, and give it to a claims administrator to get your claim started. Your employer must also give you a copy of the completed form.   "Employee Claim for Workers' Compensation Benefits" form [DWC Form 1] with portions highlighted as they are presented by the narrator. (Music)
6d     Nurse gets claim form and other materials from her supervisor. (Sounds from the scene)
6e     Nurse monologue: I got the form from my supervisor. She answered all my questions, gave me a pamphlet, some factsheets describing the workers' comp process.
6f     Clerical worker asks his supervisor:


Aren't  I supposed to fill out a form for medical treatment and for payments for my time off?

I don't know about any form. Right now, I'm more concerned with trying to meet this deadline with you unable to type.

6g   Greg Vach
Greg Vach: Sometimes first line supervisors aren't aware of all the procedures.
6h     Clerical worker asks another manager who gives him the form. If your supervisor is unfamiliar with workers' comp, ask other people in management.
7a Get medical care. (pause) Your treating doctor plays an important role in helping you recover and return to work. � Get medical care Hand being bandaged (slow motion) and doctor with spine model. (Music)
7b Your treating doctor decides what type of medical care you'll get for your injury or illness.   Pipefitter with doctor.  
7c Your treating doctor can help identify the kinds of work you can do safely while recovering.   Nurse and her doctor with spine model.  
7d If you are off work, your treating doctor determines when you can return to work.   Clerical worker with doctor.  
7e Your treating doctor writes and sends medical reports to other people in the workers' compensation system. These reports will affect the benefits you receive.   Clerical worker's doctor writing.  
7f   Judy Doane

Injured Worker Support Group Coordinator

Judy Doane: Doctors have expertise in different areas. You should be seen by a doctor who knows how to treat the type of injury or illness you have. It is also important that your doctor understand the relationship between your job and your injury.
7g   Dr. Allan MacKenzie, M.D.
Physician and Surgeon
Allan MacKenzie: Tell your doctor about your physical symptoms and other problems. Your doctor should note these findings in your medical record. You should also describe the job you do, as well as the equipment and substances you work with. This will help your doctor determine whether your work caused your medical condition.
7h If you want to choose who will treat you for a job injury, To choose the doctor who will treat you:

� Notify employer before you

are injured

� Name your personal

physician in writing

(full screen, each item appearing when spoken by narrator)

7i You must notify your employer before you are injured.    
7j You must name your personal physician, and you must do this in writing.    
7k This is called predesignating your personal physician. Predesignating your personal physician    
7l If you predesignated, you may see your personal physician for treatment after getting hurt on the job. You may switch doctors later, if necessary. If you predesignated, you may see your personal physician for treatment.    
7m If you did not predesignate, your employer can usually choose the doctor who treats you during the first 30 days after your employer learns about your injury. If you did not predesignate, your employer can usually choose the doctor who treats you during first 30 days.    
7n   Should you predesignate?    
7o   Greg Vach
Greg Vach: Most doctors don't deal with workers' compensation procedures and paperwork. That's why employers select clinics and specially trained doctors who provide good care and who know how to help injured workers get through the system.
7p   Tom Rankin
Labor Representative
Tom Rankin: If you predesignated, you'll be able to choose the doctor who will treat you for a job injury. For example, you can see the company doctor or choose another doctor if the company doctor is not the best choice.
8a To review, there are 4 steps for you to take if you are injured on the job. Steps to take   (Music)
8b Report your injury or illness to your employer. � Report the injury Nurse (freeze frame) (Music)
8c Get emergency treatment if needed. � Get emergency treatment if


Pipefitter walking to hospital (freeze frame). (Music)
8d Fill out and submit a claim form. � File claim form Clerical worker (freeze frame) (Music)
8e And get more medical care to help you recover from your injury. � Get medical care Pipefitter with doctor (freeze frame) (Music)
9a Each workers' compensation case is different. Some cases are simple.   Nurse at computer.  
9b     Nurse monologue: I only missed three days of work. And then my supervisor allowed me to work at the nurse's station while my back got better. I was treated well and got the medical care I needed.
9c Some are complicated.   Clerical worker and supervisor. (Sounds from the scene)
9d     Clerical worker monologue: I didn't get paid for time off and I couldn't get the treatment I needed. All I got were these letters saying that they hadn't decided whether or not my injury was covered by workers' comp. And then after three months, they denied my claim.
9e     Pipefitter monologue: I'm not sure I got all the right amount of payments for the time I missed from my work. I was afraid I'd get fired if I pressed my case. I've heard about other injured workers getting laid off.
9f If you have a problem or a concern, see whether your employer or the claims administrator can agree to resolve it. See employer or claims administrator    
9g   Inga Torok
Claims Administrator
Inga Torok: If you have a problem or a question about your claim, check with your employer or claims administrator first. We can work out problems together.
9h If your employer or the claims administrator cannot resolve the problem, don't delay getting help. Don't delay getting help    
9i You can contact the following resources:

an Information & Assistance officer with the State of California,

an applicants' attorney,

your union.


w Information & Assistance Officer

w Applicants' Attorney

wYour Union

(full screen, each item appearing when spoken by narrator)


Jill Okinaka Cruz

State Information & Assistance Officer

Jill Cruz: The State Division of Workers' Compensation offers information and assistance to injured workers. Our Information & Assistance staff may be able to help resolve problems between you and the claims administrator.

Frank D. Russo
Applicants' Attorney

Frank Russo: If you experience delays, if your claim is denied, if you can't return to work, you may need the help of an attorney. Most attorneys provide a free consultation the first time you call or meet.

Marielena Hincapi�
Legal Clinic Attorney

Marielena Hincapi�: Some workers can't get their employers to accept their completed claim form. Others have trouble getting their employer to provide medical care for their job injuries. To get help, see an Information & Assistance officer or an attorney. If your problem can't be resolved informally, papers can be filled out and filed with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board to resolve the dispute.

Tom Rankin
Labor Representative

Tom Rankin: Many workers are afraid that they will lose their jobs because they file a workers' comp claim. State law prohibits discrimination of this kind. If you are covered by a union contract, you may have some additional protections.
9n You can also get support from other injured workers. Get support from other injured workers    
9o   Judy Doane

Injured Worker Support Group Coordinator

Judy Doane: Injured worker support groups share information and personal experiences on how to deal with being injured, how to handle problems with claims, how to get appropriate medical care, and how to find good lawyers.
9p Regardless of whether you have a problem, keep good records. This includes copies of all papers you receive or fill out and notes of all discussions you have with the people involved in your claim. You also can request copies of all medical reports and other documents about your claim. Keep good records Pipefitter in truck, with folder and claim form. Nurse walking down hall, looking at papers.  
10a     Social worker: Learn your rights. Find out what you should do if you're injured on the job. And don't be afraid to ask questions. (Music)
10b     Printer: If you have problems with your claim, don't give up. There are different places you can go to ask questions or get help. (Music)
10c     Store clerk: Keep a good record of everything that happens. Write down what people say to you. Keep copies of every document. (Music)
10d     Medical technician: Make sure that you're able to be treated by a doctor who understands your job and what caused your injury. (Music)
10e     Agricultural worker: If you have concerns, speak up. What happens in your claim affects your future. (Music)
11a This videotape gives general information about workers' compensation in California. Some rules, exceptions, and deadlines not covered in this video may apply to you and affect your case. There are factsheets that provide more information. For copies of the factsheets, see the Department of Industrial Relations Web site at

Through this Web site, link to the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation.

For factsheets, see the Department of Industrial Relations Web site:

Link to:

Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation

11b If you have questions about this video or the fact sheets, contact the state Division of Workers' Compensation. If you have questions about this video or the fact sheets, contact:

Division of Workers' Compensation

11c Check the Government Pages of your phone book and look up: State Government Offices/Industrial Relations/Workers' Compensation/Information & Assistance. Check the government pages of your phone book

*State Government Offices
*Industrial Relations
*Workers' Compensation
*Information & Assistance

12a   This video was produced by the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP), University of California at Berkeley, under contract with the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation.   (Music)
12b   Commissioners:

Tom Rankin, Chair
James J. Hlawek
Leonard McLeod
Gerald O'Hara
Kristen Schwenkmeyer
Robert B. Steinberg
Darrel "Shorty" Thacker
Gregory Vach

12c   Commission Staff:

Christine Baker, Executive Officer

Kirsten Str�mberg
Evonne Jolls
Janice Yapdiangco
Lavina Tam

12d   Executive Producers:

Juliann Sum
Laura Stock

Writer, Producer, and Editor:
Christopher B. Bedford

Camera: Peter White
Narrator: Robert Ernst

Music: Liza Figueroa

12e   Actors:

Zachary Barton
Wilma Bonet
Velina Brown
Johnnie Burrell
Cab Covay
Jim Giovanni
Brian Joseph
Marcella Pabros
Michelle Parodi
Paul Santiago
John Shin

12f   We wish to thank the following persons and organizations that assisted in the production of this video:

California Applicants' Attorneys Association (CAAA)

California Chiropractic Association

California Workers' Compensation Institute

Christopher A. Ball, Offices of Christopher A. Ball

California Federation of Teachers

Jill Okinaka Cruz, State Information & Assistance Officer

Judy Doane, San Francisco RSI Support Group

John Duncan, Acting Director, Department of Industrial Relations, State of California

East Bay RSI Support Group

The East San Jos� Community Law Center of Santa Clara University

Joe Enos, United Auto Workers Local 2244

Gary Drilling Company

Dorsey Hamilton, Compensation Alert, Inc.

Marielena Hincapi�, Legal Aid Society of San Francisco/

Employment Law Center

Inkworks, Berkeley

Josie Jenkins, Field Representative, SEIU Local 949

Kaiser Occupational Health Center, San Francisco

Dr. Allan MacKenzie, Executive Medical Director, Industrial Medical Council, State of California

Dr. Linda Morse, Chief of Occupational Medicine, Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco

Tom Rankin, California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO

Frank D. Russo, Russo & Casetta

Sarah Shaker, Instituto Laboral De La Raza

State of California, Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers' Compensation

State of California, Industrial Medical Council and Staff

Inga Torok, State Compensation Insurance Fund

UA Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 393, San Jose

Greg Vach, Interstate Brands Corporation



12g   Copyright � 1998 Labor Occupational Health Program, University of California at Berkeley. Permission is granted to reproduce this video for educational purposes. Please credit LOHP and the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation.