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When a benefit is late, the Labor Code provides for an automatic self-imposed penalty of 10%. If any indemnity payment, that is temporary disability or permanent disability, is not paid timely, the amount of the late payment shall be increased 10% and shall be paid, without application, to the employee. So for the 10% self-imposed, you do not have to ask for it.
However, if payment of compensation has been unreasonably delayed or refused, either prior to or subsequent to the issuance of an award, the amount of the payment unreasonably delayed or refused can be increased by up to 25% or up to $10,000, whichever is less. This particular penalty is not strictly limited to temporary disability or permanent disability. It can also include other benefits such as medical treatment, interest, and death benefits. However, if the insurance company discovers their error before the employee claims this penalty, then they may only be liable for the 10% self-imposed penalty versus the 25% penalty. The best method to notify the insurance company that you are claiming a 25% penalty is by filing a Petition for Penalties with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board as this will require action from the Board. This will place all parties on notice of the penalty petition and also provide the facts as to why you are claiming the penalty. More than likely an insurance company is going to be resistant to voluntarily pay a 25% penalty, which necessitates the petition.
If you have questions about your workers' compensation injury and want to talk to an attorney in Fresno, please call 559-408-7436 or fill out the form to the right.