Nearly every employer and business entity in California is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, per laboratorio § 3700. This applies to business entities with only one worker, regardless of whether the employees are seasonal, temporary, part-time, or full-time.
A business entity is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance in California unless the entity is a sole proprietorship, partnership, or single-member LLC without even one employee. Federal workers have a different program for injured worker benefits, as do railroad employees.
California Department of Industrial Relations Workers’ Compensation Requirements
de california Departamento de Relaciones Industriales de California (DIR) says that all workers’ compensation insurance must provide five categories of benefits, which include the following:
- Medical care. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance must provide the healthcare services you need to get well and back to work from a job-related injury or illness. The healthcare provider cannot bill you for this medical treatment if you told them that your condition was work-related, and you followed the program rules.
- Temporary disability benefits. If you cannot work because of your job-related condition, and your boss does not offer you a different kind of work that you can perform while recuperating, you could receive weekly checks for around two-thirds of your usual pre-tax wages, subject to some limitations.
- Permanent disability benefits. Most people can fully recover from an accident that happened while at work. For those who will always have some impairment of their function after reaching their maximum level of improvement, the California workers’ compensation program can offer permanent disability benefits.
- Job displacement benefits. Supplemental retraining vouchers can help the injured worker train for another position if they have permanent impairments and do not go back to work for the same employer. These benefits are also called vocational rehabilitation benefits and can include additional education and job skills training.
- Death benefits. Eligible dependents like surviving spouses and children can receive death benefit payments after a worker dies from a qualifying work illness or injury.
Look-Up Tools for Injured Workers
You can do a search to find out which insurance company provides the workers’ compensation insurance for your workplace at the California Workers’ Compensation Coverage Inquiry portal. The website may contain information about the insurance company your employer uses. Information goes back five years, allowing you to identify which coverage applies to your situation.
Some California employers choose to self-insure for workers’ compensation claims. They must file a Self-Insurance Plan with the Office of Self-Insurance Plans (OSIP). You may search the roster of Self-Insured Employers.
Workers’ Compensation for California State Employees
If you work for the state of California and you get injured or develop a medical condition as a result of your job duties, the state must provide workers’ compensation benefits for you, according to the California Department of Human Resources.
The workers’ compensation insurance, adjustment of claims, and benefits for state workers are provided by the State Compensation Insurance Fund, also called the State Fund.
Workers’ Compensation for Federal Employees
People who work for the federal government are covered under a different program if they get injured on the job. Rather than filing a claim for benefits under the California workers’ compensation program for state and private employers, a federal employee must file a claim with the Federal Employees’ Compensation Program.
The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) uses different forms and has some different rules than the standard workers’ compensation program required by California. The federal government does not participate in California’s workers’ compensation program.
Benefits for Injured Railroad Workers
People who make a living as railroad employees may not make a claim under California’s workers’ compensation program because they have coverage for their work-related injuries under a different program. The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), covers injured railroad industry workers.
There are significant differences between a work-related injury claim under FELA and one under the California workers’ compensation program. Differences include the categories of benefits available and whether fault is a factor in an injury claim.
Do Contractors in California Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?
According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board, employers in the construction industry must carry workers’ compensation insurance, even those companies that only have one employee. Even if they do not have a single employee, the license board requires these active contracting employers to either maintain workers’ compensation insurance or have a certification of self-insurance.
These contractors will not be allowed to maintain current licenses without complying with this requirement.
Consequences of an Employer Being Illegally Uninsured
de DIR warns that the failure to maintain workers’ compensation insurance is a criminal offense. If you get injured on the job and your employer was supposed to carry workers’ compensation insurance but did not, you can get found guilty of a misdemeanor. They could be fined or spend time in jail.
In addition to these criminal penalties that a judge could impose, the state of California can fine illegally uninsured employers up to $100,000. The employer will be responsible for paying all of the worker’s bills related to the medical condition.
Also, participating in the state workers’ compensation program shields employers from personal injury lawsuits by workers who get injured on the job. If you get hurt at work and your boss is illegally uninsured, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer as well as file a workers’ compensation claim seeking benefits.
Contact KJT Law Group for Help With a Workers’ Compensation Claim
A workers’ compensation attorney from KJT Grupo de Derecho could help you seek the benefits and justice you deserve after getting hurt at work. You can reach out to us today to get started.