Every state in the US upholds workers’ compensation laws and special boards responsible for reviewing, approving, adjusting, and denying workers’ compensation claims. When a worker suffers an injury on the job while carrying out their job duties, they have the right to claim compensation through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy.

California state law requires all employers to carry and maintain workers’ compensation insurance, and employers must assist employees with their claims in good faith. If you work in any type of job environment that carries a risk of workplace injury, it is essential to know how the state’s workers’ compensation works and what you should expect from your claim.

What Is Not Covered Under Workers’ Comp?

The purpose of the workers’ compensation system is to provide financial relief for injuries and illnesses sustained by employees during the course of completing job-related duties. If an accident occurs outside of the workplace, the resulting injuries would not be covered by workers’ compensation unless the injured worker was performing a job-related activity such as a delivery or pickup.

It is also possible to obtain workers’ compensation for degenerative injuries, illnesses, and repetitive motion injuries caused by performing one’s job duties every day. However, it is unlikely that a worker could obtain workers’ compensation benefits for conditions like cancer unless there is a clear indication the condition was a result of the work environment and the worker’s duties.

Who Is Excluded From Workers Compensation?

California state legislators recently changed the workers’ compensation rules in the state, ensuring that employees who previously did not meet the requirements for workers’ compensation but performed work duties similar to covered employees could secure workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are a few groups who remain excluded from the state’s workers’ compensation system. Many independent contractors, employees who work for aid in lieu of wages, and employees of family members, in some cases, are a few examples of employees in California who cannot file workers’ compensation claims.

How Is Workers’ Comp Insurance Calculated?

Employers in California must carry workers’ comp insurance, and their insurance policies function similarly to most other types of insurance. When it comes to most types of insurance, the insurance carrier will charge a premium to a policyholder based on their perceived level of risk. If the policyholder is perceived to entail a high level of risk of future workplace accidents, and consequently a higher risk of workers’ compensation claims, the insurance carrier will likely require higher premium payments from the policyholder.

Can I Receive Workers’ Comp and Short-Term Disability?

Both workers’ compensation and short-term disability offer relief to an injured worker who is left with medical bills and injuries that cause not only financial instability but also severe medical complications or permanent impairment. While it is technically possible to receive both workers’ compensation benefits and short-term disability benefits, it is not possible to receive both during the same period of time. It is vital to carefully research state law to determine which benefits would provide you with the most economic relief, and an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney can be a tremendous asset if you need help with a claim or other benefits-related legal issues.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

Even under ideal circumstances, it can be difficult to navigate the complex codes, provisions, and regulations of California’s workers’ compensation system. Hiring an experienced California workers’ compensation lawyer can significantly streamline this process. Your attorney can assist with the completion of all required claim forms, help you navigate the filing process, and provide legal counsel should you need to appeal the decision on your claim.

Additionally, not every employer is as helpful as they should be when an employee needs to file a workers’ compensation claim. Some employers, unfortunately, engage in retaliation, or adverse actions against an employee who performs a legally protected action such as filing for workers’ compensation benefits. In the event you encounter any form of retaliation from your employer, it is crucial to consult a California workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to start building your case.

Find Legal Help With Your Benefits Claim

If you have been injured at work, an experienced attorney can do much more than just help you file your claim; they can also help you avoid common snags with the procedural steps you must complete to overcome a denial or reduced benefit award. Hiring reliable legal representation can also become your best and only bulwark against illegal retaliation from an employer. Ultimately, it is best to contact a California workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible after sustaining an injury in the workplace.