In general, all part- and full-time employees should be eligible for workers’ compensation in California. The state’s workers’ compensation laws require all employers with one or more workers to provide this type of insurance coverage. Benefits should be available to all employees if they suffer an on-the-job injury or have another qualifying condition.
If you have questions or concerns about your California claim, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help. Most provide free case consultations and can explain your options at no cost.
California Law Requires Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Most Businesses
Generally, all California businesses must purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. This coverage is available through private insurers and the State Compensation Insurance Fund.
According to California Labor Code § 3351, all workplaces with at least one employee must invest in this coverage. An employee is one who works:
- Full or part-time
- Under an expressed or implied agreement with the employer
- Regardless of legal status
There are some exceptions under this law. Not all companies must invest in workers’ compensation coverage, and not all employees must have access to coverage. Exceptions include:
- Sole proprietors who own and operate their own businesses without employees
- Executive officers or C-level directors who own the business
- LLC members who do not actively work for the business
- Independent contractors
Employees Should Have Coverage From the First Time They Work
Every employee in a covered workplace should have access to workers’ compensation benefits from the first time they clock in or arrive at work. Any time they are on the clock or doing work for the business, they should have access to these benefits. This includes anyone who the state classifies as an employee of the business, including:
- Full-time workers
- Part-time workers
- Salaried and hourly employees
- Seasonal staff
- Occasional staff
Most businesses collect paperwork for this coverage as a part of the hiring process, allowing them to submit the necessary documents and offer coverage before employees start working. This ensures coverage is in place from the very beginning.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Consider a Workplace Injury?
In general, there are three types of workplace injuries covered by workers’ compensation insurance. These include:
Acute injuries occur because of a sudden incident and require prompt medical care. This could include a fall that causes a broken arm, getting caustic chemicals in your eye, or a traffic accident while you were out making deliveries. The cause is often sudden and unpredictable.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries are chronic and occur because workers experience the same exposure or repeatedly take the same actions. These are often covered after your doctor diagnoses them and links them to your work activity. Two examples are carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive typing and hearing loss from ongoing noise exposure. Back, knee, and arm injuries also commonly occur.
In some cases, an illness occurs because of something that happened at work. Common, everyday illnesses such as a cold or the flu do not count. However, there are many types of illnesses that these policies cover. For example, developing cancer after regular exposure to carcinogens might qualify. One of the most well-known examples is mesothelioma, a deadly cancer linked to asbestos exposure.
Different Types of Claims Suit Different Types of Situations
Workers’ compensation injuries can vary widely. In fact, there are four general types of workers’ comp cases. The first two are the most common, but lasting injuries also occur frequently. The types of cases include:
- Medical treatment only
- Medical treatment with wage losses because of time away from work
- Medical treatment with injuries that limit your ability to do your previous job
- Medical treatment with injuries that prevent you from working at all
If you have questions about your workers’ compensation claim or whether your condition falls under this coverage, you should consider discussing your case with a workers compensation attorney Los Angeles. They can assess your case and offer information at no cost. They could manage your claim and help you secure fair compensation, too.
What Benefits Are Available to Eligible Employees Under Workers’ Comp?
When an eligible employee suffers an on-the-job injury, they can file a claim for benefits. According to “Workers’ Compensation in California: A Guidebook for Injured Workers,” California workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Related medical care: This includes all injury-related treatment and care costs.
- Wage loss payments: This covers a portion of your usual income. There are two types: temporary disability benefits and permanent disability benefits.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits: If you cannot return to your previous job because of your injuries, you could receive retraining or learn new skills.
- Death benefits: Surviving family members receive a one-time payment if their loved one dies from workplace injuries.
Do I Need a Workers’ Comp Lawyer After a Workplace Injury?
Many workers can navigate the claims process and get the benefits they need and deserve following a workplace injury. When this process goes smoothly, there is no need to hire an attorney. However, this isn’t the case for everyone.
These cases often become much more complex when you have long-term injuries that prevent you from returning to your previous job, or you cannot work at all because of your accident and injuries. When this occurs, you may need to fight for fair compensation based on your future lost income and medical needs. These could come as ongoing payments or a lump-sum settlement.
If there are any hiccups in your case or you are not sure how much your case might be worth, you may want an attorney on your side. Having someone who knows the ins and outs of California workers’ compensation law is invaluable.